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When a friend or loved one experiences symptoms of a mental health condition, you are faced with many challenges.
What kind of support will they need from you? How do you find the right words to say to them? One of the most important things to remember with mental illness, is that nobody is to blame. In fact, the cause of a mental disorder should be the least of your concerns.This is because as primary support for someone struggling with mental illness, your focus should be on how you treat them. It’s this that will underscore their overall well-being. Therefore, it’s easy to understand just how vital your support can be at any given time. And although it may sound like a lot of pressure, don’t panic just yet. We’ve compiled a few tips that will help you achieve effective support for those in your life dealing with mental illness.
What to do / What not to do The first best thing you can do is learn about the illness. Educating yourself is what will form the basis of the support you provide. If you’re unsure about how to begin, you can reach out to others who can offer guidance and refer resources that will help. Which brings us to our next tip:
Just because you’re providing support, don’t think that you’re not allowed the same. Too often people make the mistake of not asking for help because they feel that they should shoulder the burden of support on their own, or feel shame thanks to the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Whatever the reasons may be, know that you’ll be more effective in your support when you allow others to help you.
That said, there are a few things to avoid when offering your support to someone dealing with mental illness. For starters, empathy begins with the suspension of self. This means that although you might feel it helps to relate their situation to your own personal experience, it actually doesn’t. Rather have them ask you, and in the meantime just listen. Also, try not to minimize their struggle by pointing out all the good things in their life. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate.
That means a big house, smart car, and successful career mean nothing in the bigger scheme of things. It especially doesn’t mean that people with all those things are exempt from mental health conditions.
The Potential of Teamwork
The path to wellness can be full of hurdles and setbacks, and that is why it’s important to have realistic expectations
There may be times when you feel your support is making no difference, or even that it’s unwanted. But however complicated the journey becomes, your support will
always be invaluable
. There’s an ancient phrase – ‘strength in numbers’ – that was first used in times of war. However, heading into battle with mental illness means this phrase is just as fitting. Here it refers to the numbers involved on the road to recovery
– from family and friends to mental health professionals. That is why at ZwavelStream Clinic we provide treatment and support for patients, as well as their family and friends. The reason being, we firmly believe in the importance of this support when it comes to effective treatment and recovery. If you have any questions about helping a loved one on their way to well-being, please feel free to contact