How to support someone you love with their mental health issues

It is one thing having to deal with your own mental health issues, it is quite another having someone that you love and care about struggling with their mental health. It can leave you feeling a variety of ways, you may be frustrated about the situation, you may be concerned about their future and you may feel overwhelming sadness that this is happening to them.

You may even feel angry about what is happening and guilty that you may be the cause, or that you may not be able to help them as they need. 

It can be hard to know how best to support someone who has mental health issues, so to help you we have put together our guide on the best ways to offer your support to them.

Talk to them

One of the most important things that you can do is to allow the person that you love the space and freedom to talk about how they feel. You need to let them have your full attention and they need to feel that they are not going to be judged. Whilst you want to let them feel that they can talk things through, you should never push them to share too much or ask them to not to share. They simply need the space to talk as much or as little as they want. 

Don’t try to diagnose them

Whilst you may have a fair idea what is going on with them, you should never try to diagnose them or second guess how they are feeling. You are not a medical expert, neither are you trained in mental health which means that you should simply be there, rather than worrying about trying to pinpoint the issue.

Offer them support when it comes to professional support

Most people who have mental health issues should speak to a professional about the way that they are feeling and to seek further advice and guidance. They want to do this under their own steam, or they may want you to go with them and be their helping hand whilst they are seeking their advice. Ask them what they would prefer and whether or not there is anything that you can do to help them at this difficult time. 

Try and stay calm and don’t get angry

It can be hard not to want to confront the person who is struggling and get angry with them. However, you need to try and make sure that you avoid this as it can only make the situation worse. Rather than feeling angry about what is happening and how it is making you feel, try to focus on them and how they are feeling. This will help to keep you calm. 

If someone that you love wants to get help with their mental health, then this is the first step to their recovery. Point them in the direction of a therapist and they can start their own journey to feeling like their old selves. 

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

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