It can be difficult to watch a loved one struggle with their mental health. Offering support and encouragement can have a significant impact, but it must be done with care and mindfulness to facilitate mental health recovery.
If your loved one is having an acute crisis, seek immediate help by calling 911, calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or taking them to the emergency room.
Here are ways to support a loved one who is battling a mental health crisis and promote mental health recovery:
First, Remember That Supporting a Loved One During a Crisis Isn’t Easy
It’s important to remember that taking on a supportive role isn’t easy. You may experience a whirlwind of emotions ranging from grief to hopefulness.
Lending your support can, at times, be emotionally difficult and overwhelming. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way.
But being there for your loved one is something you won’t regret, and your support during a dark time will never be forgotten.
Encourage, Support and Listen
Encouragement, support and an open ear can make a world of difference. Let your loved one know that you are there to help and ready to support them in whatever way they need.
Starting the conversation can sometimes be the hardest part. One way to broach the subject is to say, “It seems like things are difficult right now. What can I do to help? I am here for you.”
If you offer your support, make sure that you follow through.
Here are some ways to lend your support:
- Make sure they are staying in touch with friends and family.
- Encourage them to keep their regular routine.
- Take them to appointments.
- Pick up medications for them when needed.
- Take the kids for a day.
- Be supportive in their ongoing treatment.
- Listen with an open mind.
Keep in mind that mental health recovery is an ongoing process. Your loved one will need your continued support and encouragement.
Be Present and Non-Judgmental
When supporting a loved one in need, it’s important to remember that what they’re experiencing is unique to them. Their feelings, even if you cannot relate, are valid and very real to them.
Be present and avoid shaming or being judgmental.
- Tell them they’re exaggerating or making up their feelings.
- Tell them to just get over it and move on.
- Assume that you know what they’re feeling or going through.
- Dismiss their feelings.
It is crucial to listen without judgement and avoid giving unsolicited advice.
Help Them Seek Help
Being supportive and encouraging is important, but it’s also important not to overextend yourself. You cannot offer support indefinitely, and your loved one may be best served by getting help from professionals.
Help your loved one seek help. Be gentle when bringing up the subject and remind them that you only want them to feel better. Help them connect with a mental health professional that can provide the help they deserve.
Mental health recovery can be a long road, but it’s not an impossible one. Being supportive and helping your loved one through this difficult time can make a world of difference in their journey to recovery.