Statistics regarding mental health problems in the United States are mind-blowing! It’s estimated that a whopping 20% of adults in the country are fighting mental health issues. Moreover, one-half of all these patients are coping without seeking treatment.
So, what should you do when someone in your family’s facing tough times? We have discussed some strategies here so you can help your loved ones cope with these problems. Mental health-related subjects shouldn’t be swept under the rug. You must help your family member suffering from these issues by supporting them during this condition. Just show the person that they aren’t alone in this battle by acting upon the suggestions we’ve mentioned below:
Educate yourself properly
How well do you understand the troubled person’s condition? We realize that some people don’t feel comfortable studying mental health issues, especially when their loved ones suffer. But a person shouldn’t neglect the importance of self-awareness and education. You can be more useful to your loved one with as much information as you can gather about their condition. Family members can access a lot of online resources regarding mental health. Enhance your knowledge to be aware of what they’re going through.
Encourage professional help
Don’t forget that your troubled family member needs professional assistance to recover. So contact rehab centers where qualified therapists can treat your loved one. You can consider Florida-based treatment facilities run by the Palm Beach Group, where they utilize medical detox techniques to help the patient tolerate withdrawal symptoms. Encourage the patient to visit rehab centers for a quick recovery since healing can become unsuccessful without professional supervision.
Give them control
Mental illness cannot be cured without empowering patients. Making patients feel powerless only worsens the condition because hopelessness harms their chances of recovery. Patients lose their sense of self-worth so their family members shouldn’t take away control from them. Help them regain their sense of self-worth by letting them participate in the decision-making process regarding their well-being. That’s how you can hasten recovery.
Use “I statements”
Since you’re related to the patient, using “I statements” can help accelerate the healing process. So, these statements go like, “I am worried about your well-being.” Talk about the mental illness to the patient by using sentences starting with an “I” instead of a “you.” That’s how you can express worry about the patient’s condition effectively. Phrases like “You should get help soon” aren’t as effective as phrases like “I think you need help.” Focus on how you feel about their condition while talking.
Don’t make assumptions
Help troubled family members recover from their condition by not making assumptions. You should avoid belittling the patient, invalidating their experiences, or generalizing their condition. Don’t tell them how they should feel because it’s insensitive to their suffering. Remember that you must be realistic about their condition and set realistic expectations only. Your goal’s to facilitate their quick recovery. So, avoid clouding your judgment about them due to preconceived ill-informed notions.
Have realistic expectations
Do you know that your expectations can influence a patient’s healing process? Don’t overburden the patient by setting unrealistic expectations. Wait for them to take as much time as they need to treat their condition. For instance, don’t just assume that your family member has healed completely just after spending a few weeks in a clinic. Give them some time to recover themselves to avoid relapse. Learn about their triggers and allow them to accelerate the healing process when comfortable.
Help them relax
How can you help a troubled individual relax? Well, spend time with them, thereby preventing them from feeling lonely. Moreover, participate in their pastimes with them to help them relax. Some studies have shown that hobbies can improve mental health by keeping your mind busy. That’s why you can help your loved ones reduce their stress merely by walking, painting, and gardening. An individual’s brain releases endorphins during these activities that keep folks happy and healthy.
Support them practically
Supporting them verbally isn’t enough! Since you’re related to the patient, the healing process relies on your cooperation. So, support your troubled family member by offering basics like taking them to see the doctor. Even the smallest gesture will be appreciated because – don’t forget – patients only wish to be “normal” again. Take your loved ones to watch a movie to enjoy some baseball. Create a routine for them because the recovery process relies upon you spending “fun” time with them.
Listen to them
Remember that being curious about a loved one’s mental health isn’t wrong. The patient may seem resistant to discuss the condition. However, they will open up once they realize you can be trusted. Don’t forget that you’re not supposed to overshare your experiences. Allow them to dominate most of the conversation because they’re the ones who are suffering. Make them feel heard by asking the right set of questions. Remind them of how they aren’t alone and offer your companionship too.
Listen without judgment
You should communicate with your troubled loved one without shaming and judging them. Ask them, “How are you doing today?” Then listen to them actively without any attempt to criticize their actions or condemn their behaviors. Offer empathy, try to connect with the experiences they’re recounting, and express your solidarity with their sufferings. Tell them stuff like, “It must have been hard!” Remember that patients feel better when they are listened to nicely.
Create a crisis plan
You shouldn’t neglect the chances of relapse. Prepare for trouble by creating crisis plans for your loved one. What should a person include in this plan? Here’s the information this crisis plan needs to accommodate today:
- The patient’s triggers
- The history of meds used
- The patient’s suicide attempts history
- Important phone numbers such as the therapist’s
- Addresses of nearby clinics, hospitals, and police stations
Help yourself too
Don’t neglect self-care while dealing with loved ones suffering from mental illness. Remember that a family member’s declining mental health can affect your well-being too. You can’t look after someone properly if you also start to suffer. So, focus on your health by eating healthy, sleeping properly, and exercising regularly. Don’t alienate yourself from others to look after that family member. Keep creating healthy connections with people and socializing.
We’ve established that mental health has become a problem in the United States. If your family member’s facing tough times, you can help that person by seeking treatment options. Get professional assistance for them and educate yourself about their condition. Listen to them actively and avoid shaming them. Don’t make assumptions; use “I statements” and create crisis plans for them. Also, we suggest you engage in their favorite pastimes with them or other stress-reducing exercises. Support a patient practically by taking them to visit the therapist. Participate in group therapy sessions with your loved one as well. Moreover, remember to focus on self-care lest their condition induces one in you.