5 (More) Tips for Supporting a Loved One with Mental Health Problems

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Before you read this, please have a look at 5 Tips on How to Help a Loved One with Mental Illness.

Supporting someone experiencing mental health problems can be challenging and difficult to understand.

This experience can be even more daunting if it’s something you haven’t experienced yourself.

You may not even see yourself as someone capable of offering someone support. However, there are different ways in which you can assist:   

1. Practical Help

Coping with day to day tasks around the house or in the outside world can sometimes seem overwhelming to a person experiencing mental health problems. 

Here are a few things you could offer to help with:

  • Accompanying someone to medical, legal and other official appointments;
  • Making phone calls on their behalf (if you have the person’s consent);
  • Help with chores like shopping, paperwork or housework;
  • Offering a lift

Sometimes, it can help just knowing another person is there. It’s a way of assisting your loved one to be more independent and confident in managing tasks they sometimes find difficult. 

2. Emotional Help

Mental health can affect any of us.

In fact, one in four people in England experience a mental health problem every year, with one in six battling common mental health issues like depression or anxiety in any given week. 

Offering emotional support can take many forms. However, a good start is to listen to how that person is feeling or asking them to explain how their mental health affects their day to day life. You may want to encourage them to seek professional support and advice

Try to listen without interrupting, be calm, reassuring, and consistent. It’s equally important not to make assumptions about what the person you’re trying to help may want or need. 

3. Don’t Take it Personally

You may feel upset or powerless when you’re offering help to someone you care about, and your offer is rejected.

The fact is, you can’t force someone to talk to you if they don’t want to, nor can you force them to seek help if they are over 18, and it’s not an emergency.

It’s human nature to want to help. Still, there may be times when you really can’t do anything apart from offering the support outlined above, and being there for them should they choose to accept it.

4. Emergencies

If your loved one needs help because they feel suicidal and may act on their feelings, or they have harmed themselves, or they pose a danger to others, you may need to seek advice straight away.

Don’t put yourself at risk. If you think you are in a potentially dangerous situation, try to remove yourself and/or call the police on 999

If you are not at risk either call 999, NHS Direct on 111 or visit the nearest A&E. You could also try to make an emergency GP appointment. The latter option might be the best choice if the GP is familiar with your loved one’s medical history. You could also encourage your loved one to speak to the Samaritans on 116 123. 

5. Help Yourself

Supporting someone with mental health problems can take its toll on your own wellbeing.

Therefore, remember to set boundaries, take breaks and share your feelings with someone who can support you.

Here, there are national and local organisations that can offer you and your loved one advice and support, should you require it.

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

You may also find helpful:

  1. 3 Mental Health Warning Signs You Should be Aware of
  2. 3 (of the) Daily Life Activities Affected by Mental Health Issues