Mental health can be a scary topic filled with stigma and stereotypes about mental illness, making it difficult to accept when one of our loved ones is diagnosed with a mental health condition. With such a broad variety of different illnesses, it can be overwhelming to try to think about what you can do to help. Here are some ways that you can help your loved ones deal with common mental illnesses.
When helping someone with depression, it’s important not to get stressed. You should try to be patient. Depression is not only the feeling of sadness; it’s fatigue, sleep problems, disordered thinking, etc. Do as much research into depression as you can, as this will help you understand it better, therefore enabling you to help them more. Make sure to listen to them when they need to vent and make sure that you stay patient and calm, even if they say things about themselves that you don’t agree with – try not to get angry!
If the issue gets too much for you to handle, encourage them to seek professional help. Remember – you’re not their therapist and can’t fix all their problems. If your loved one is feeling sad and lonely, it’s vital that you try to give them the support they need so they don’t feel worse, but make sure to look after yourself also – don’t throw your own mental wellbeing out the window!
Their fears may seem insignificant to you, but if a loved one with anxiety tells you that they are too scared to do something – listen to them. When someone you love is having an anxiety attack or feels overly anxious when you’re not at home, ensure that you let them know that they don’t have to stay where they are, you can go somewhere else momentarily – or permanently – to help them calm down. If you fear a panic attack may be starting, encourage them to breathe deeply – this may help prevent a serious panic attack.
Panic attacks can come out of nowhere and for no reason, so try your hardest not to ask the sufferer what is making them panic – the chances are they don’t know and this could panic them even more! The best thing to do when someone is suffering from anxiety is not to stress. If they have a panic attack, it’s most likely that they will be okay after, so try to stay calm and focus on helping them.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
This can be one of the more difficult mental illnesses to deal with, but it is treatable, so try to show the most support you possibly can towards your loved one as they deal with this chronic illness. Instead of trying to do their compulsion for them to give them ease of mind, try giving them emotional support instead and assure them that they’re okay and they can get through this. Make sure that they have access to treatment, as this illness cannot be treated without professional or medical help.
Mental illness can be intimidating, but it’s vital you show your loved one support, care and trust, as well as not letting their illness beat you down with them.