Mental illness is increasing in the United States. While people are living longer with better treatment options, many individuals still face opposition from others because of their mental illnesses.
Family members can play a crucial role in supporting people who struggle with mental health issues. This article will discuss six ways families can be supportive of their loved ones.
Don’t take on all responsibilities
Family members should not enable their loved ones by taking on their responsibilities. While you should help your family member when they’re really struggling, you shouldn’t take on their entire workload.
For example, parents should not become babysitters and personal assistants for their children who suffer from depression or anxiety disorders. This does not help the person struggling with mental illness. Instead, this hinders them from becoming independent and developing their skills.
Treat your family member as capable
You shouldn’t automatically assume your loved one is incapable of doing things. This can be just as damaging to the individual who has mental health issues because they may feel misunderstood and unappreciated by other people.
If family members constantly question what someone with a mental illness says, they will lose motivation to improve themselves or continue treatment options. Instead, it should be encouraged for family members to treat their loved ones with respect.
Acknowledge the good and bad days
There are times when a loved one will be able to handle their stress and times that they cannot. Their behavior may be unpredictable, but it is important not to make any hasty decisions during emotional times.
Family members should take time to talk about what is going on and figure out the best solution to the problem at hand. For example, if a child has trouble in school, the parent should encourage their child to talk about it rather than pretend everything’s fine. They should be patient and let their child gradually talk about their problems.
Don’t ignore the problem
Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Ignoring mental health issues will not make them vanish.
If family members continue to act like it is not a problem, then the individual struggling with their illness may feel alone and isolated. This can be damaging because individuals need support from others to get better; however, people also benefit when they can communicate honestly about how they feel without judgment. When a family member is dealing with mental health issues, others should be supportive and seek help when needed.
Avoid the blame game
Family members should not blame themselves for the mental health disorder of their loved ones. While it is important to recognize when there may be a possible link between the two, it is also important not to put too much guilt on themselves.
This can often happen with parents, who will sometimes feel guilty or blame themselves for the mental health issues of their child. Parents shouldn’t feel guilty or blame themselves, though. Instead, they should support their child through recovery.
Communicate with them
Communication is key when your loved ones are struggling. It’s best to get in touch with each other and come up with a plan on how your loved one can recover.
For instance, if you have a family member who suffers from depression, you should talk with them and develop a plan for how you can best support them. This could be taking them to get to see a therapist or offering to hang out with them every now and then.
It is important for family members of individuals who suffer from mental health disorders to educate themselves about what might be causing their loved ones distress. They should communicate with other family members and develop a plan on how every member in the family can be supportive in their recovery. Families should not enable their loved ones but also show them they are being supported through obstacles.