Learn about their diagnosis.

Every mental illness is different so every person needs a different approach. It can be very affirming when your loved ones take the time to learn about your diagnosis and the way in which it effects you. Having a better understanding of your loved one will help you make sense of their behaviours and allow you to approach them sensitively.

Be there for them and listen to them.

The most important thing a person with a mental illness needs is someone to listen to them without judging. Sometimes all it takes is your presence. Check in on your friends and family regularly and spend time with them when you can. It can make all the difference when you know there is someone there for you.

Have a plan for a crisis.

Mental illnesses can sometimes lead to dangerous situations such as suicide. It is important to have a plan in case your loved one is a harm to themselves or other people. Your plan can include ways to distract your loved one and a list of people to call in case of an emergency. Sometimes it will be necessary to also call crisis and emergency services.

Help them get professional help.

Even though we would like to be able to help our loved ones through difficult situations, it is important that they also seek professional help. Mental illnesses can be treated with the appropriate professional care. It may help if you can accompany them to their initial appointments.

Take care of yourself.

Taking care of someone else who is suffering can impact our own mental health. Make sure you have your own coping strategies. Establish healthy boundaries with your loved ones. Make sure your loved one has people other than you that they can contact when they need it. This is another reason why professional help will be beneficial for them.

Be patient.

Lastly, people with mental illnesses require patience from their loved ones. It can be frustrating and challenging at times and you may not always be treated fairly. You have to remember that the person you know and love is still there. They just require your patience and kindness to get back to who they truly are.

14 thoughts on “How to help Someone with Mental Illness

  1. Being there for them is better than ant Medicine prescribed. My Mother had Dementia, after learning how important it was to Her to have me sitting in her Room conversing with her, bringing her out of the Fog and not Talking at her the way the Professional Staff did in a Patronizing manner. I made it my responsibility to visit her daily. Sometimes I would spend hours sometimes minutes nontheless I was her Hero up to the end when Doctors wrote her off as unresponsive she Communicated with me. I felt like I let her down she always wanted me to be a Doctor.

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  2. You no about two years ago now I began seeing a “shrink” as we call them. As I mentioned in my depression comment that I am the type and my shrink will testify this that someone can get shot right next to me, another can get run over and I won’t even mention it until a few days or weeks later. I have been through so much trauma that I can be numb at times. I lost both of my brothers to heroin and now with this whole disease concept and the brain can get rewired from extensive drug or alcohol use that I never believed it. As I’ve gone through my journey and battles with my own addiction, I’ve gained substantial clean time as well as the person who is not a drinker really, I’m not the guy who likes to go to the bar after work. My body likes opiates. So it’s like me going for a beer. Which is justifying my using at times but hey, I don’t no yet if I am ready to go completely sober for the remaining time I have left. Anyway, I say all this to tie in mental illness. I’ve been told I have ADHD. As well as Opioid Dependence. Plus PTSD. However, it’s a day at a time which I hate using but it does work. Having support is huge nowadays! I believe we all can benefit from it weather you are the wealthy man on top or the poor homeless person wanting a start. We all have a story, we all are battling our own wars. I do agree 100 percent that it is very important to learn all you can (I) can about myself. It is important to be aware of my surroundings at all times! Having a better understanding as well as accepting who you are can jumpstart recovery.

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  3. Thank you for writing topic. You are so sweet.

    ** I have Aspergers, I was bullied since I was 3 (by my Mom), she calls me stupid & unlikable almost everyday for over 20 years. I have Aspergers (a mild form of autism), so I was kind of slow when I was a kid, I also have some emotional & behavioral issues. Anxiety, obsession & social Awkwardness are some of the other symptoms. **I cry almost everyday, & my mom also compared to my cousin all the time (like how come I am not as smart, beautiful & sociable as my cousin), and I could not stand that.

    My self esteem is also very very low. I can not even talk to or see my relatives in person, and I don’t have friends. That is so sad. It only gotten worse as I grow older. I still cry everyday because that is what I think of whenever I think of my mom even after she past away(that I am stupid & unlikable, and I could not be compared to my cousin).

    ** I know I have many problems due to my disability, but being called stupid & unlikable & compared to my cousin for over 20 years is just too much for me to bear. This was a serious form of bullying. 😥😢

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