Health & Wellness

How To Support A Loved One With Mental Health Struggles

2:33 PM

How To Support A Loved One With Mental Health Struggles

woman hugging her friend crying

If you have a loved one struggling with mental health, you may wonder how you can best support them. You might see them in pain and feel helpless, not knowing what you can do to make them feel better. Finding the right approach that works best for you and your loved one is essential. Here are some tips on how to support a loved one with mental health struggles.
 

1. Educate yourself.

Educating yourself about mental health topics can be highly beneficial to best support your loved one struggling with mental health issues. 

Once you understand the symptoms and causes of their condition, it will allow you to provide more effective help.

For example, if your loved one is struggling with depression, understanding triggers such as stress, fatigue, or even certain foods can help prevent episodes. 

Additionally, many resources like books, articles, support groups, and therapy sessions can further expand your knowledge and offer a safe space for your loved one to release emotions or have an open-minded conversation.

woman sitting giving advice to another woman
 

2. Be there for them.

One of the most important things you can do to support a loved one struggling with mental health issues is to be there for them. Make time to listen to their story and the thoughts they’re trying to make sense of.

It isn’t always easy, but try your best not to judge or offer unsolicited advice. 

Instead, focus on understanding and affirming their feelings - no matter how valid or invalid, others may believe them.

The power of companionship and care should never be underestimated - it’s essential to create a safe space for your friend or family member where they feel supported and can make mistakes without fear of judgment or repercussions. 

Comfort them in any way you can, validate their emotions, and let them know you’re there as they go through this journey.

woman hugging and comforting another woman
 

3. Encourage healthy habits.

Encouraging healthy habits such as exercising and eating a well-balanced diet can give your loved one more energy and build a stronger relationship with you.

Exercise gives people structure, goal setting practices and provides healthier coping techniques when dealing with difficult emotions. 

Making healthy food choices promotes better sleep and resilience to stress, releases feel-good hormones in the body that help with emotional regulation, and creates overall improved physical health, which helps to support good mental health.

Man sitting down in a trail with a friend's hand on his shoulder

  

4. Avoid enabling their bad habits or negative behavior.

When a loved one struggles with mental health issues, it can be tough to remain supportive and encouraging while avoiding enabling their bad habits or negative behavior. 

It is natural to want to fall into the role of rescuer and try to soothe your loved one in their time of need. 

However, this can sometimes lead to unknowingly validating and frustrating behaviors that can worsen their situation.

When supporting someone battling mental health issues, it’s essential to focus on gently guiding rather than swiftly taking control. 

Allow them to discover things and offer understanding without judgment or opinion. 

This may prevent any guilt or obligation associated with being “rescued” from their harrowing experiences; it also shows that you trust their ability to handle the situation themselves.

Comforting hands


5. Check in on them regularly.

Checking in with your loved one can be a great way to show them you care, especially those dealing with mental health struggles

Showing that you are here for them and listening to their experiences invites them to open up and know they are supported. You may not always be able to offer a solution, but simply being there is often enough.

Checking in often helps you stay connected and prevents feeling overwhelmed by the situation

Asking if they would like help with anything or if what you’re seeing is new are also great ways to start the conversation. 

This lets your loved one know you care and want to help; it’s essential for all relationships!

woman on the couch facetiming someone


6. Help them find professional help.

If your loved one is struggling with mental health, it can be hard to know how to help. Maybe they need more support than you can, and that’s okay.

Providing them with resources to get consistent professional help and connecting them with the support they need is an excellent way for you to show your care and concern. 

In addition, mental health professionals are trained to offer creative solutions and coping strategies for any distress. 

So reach out, lend a hand, and take proactive steps to ensure your loved one gets the support they need to heal and thrive.

It’s essential to show your support throughout your loved one’s mental health journey, no matter how trying it may be. 

Though the road to recovery may be unpredictable and winding at times, understanding how to help during this time could be the difference between “good days” and “hard days” for your loved one experiencing mental health struggles.


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