Mental health, like the ability to breathe or walk, is something many people take for granted. For those coping with a mental illness, however, it is much more fickle. Living with a psychiatric disorder such as depression, anxiety, or addiction can mean waking up every day and not knowing if you will be able to make it through the day without an incident or setback. Over time, it can become difficult to maintain aspects of a normal life, including holding a job, attending social gatherings, or caring for oneself. If a family member is struggling with their mental health, it is important to know how best to offer your support.
3 Ways to Help a Family Member Cope With a Mental Illness
1. Research & Educate Yourself
If a family member is living with a condition that negatively impacts their mental health, the most important thing for you to do is research and educate yourself. By learning as much as you can about their condition, you will be able to better understand what they are going through and what each day is like for them. Understanding their mental illness also allows you to understand what is happening to the person you love and why.
2. Offer Objective Support
When you watch a loved one struggle with something as difficult as a mental illness, it can become difficult to remain objective. You may look at the person you love as you remember them or want them to be, rather than as they are. While offering your support, take a step back and try to remove yourself from the equation. Try to see the person your family member is now and the person they are trying to be. Only with this emotional distance can you truly offer them your unbiased support.
3. Become an Integral Part of Their Recovery
If your family member’s rehabilitation is very important to you, commit to becoming a part of their recovery. Attend counseling sessions to allow for honest conversations in judgment-free spaces. If they are in an addiction treatment program, play an active part in getting them to their therapy sessions and making sure they stay clean. The key is to find a way to be involved while still allowing them the privacy and freedom to find what works best for them.
If a family member is struggling with their mental health, contact Daymark Recovery Services. Serving 28 counties across North Carolina, they provide care for a variety of mental illnesses, including depression and addiction. To learn more about the treatment options available through this clinic, visit the Daymark Recovery Services website.