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How To Cope If A Loved One Has Mental Health Issues

    Living with a mental illness can be tough. And caring for a person with mental health issues is no different. Mental disorders can impact patients’ emotions and behavior, affecting relationships. So, learning healthy coping methods is important before they lead to serious damage.

    People often don’t know what to do after learning that a loved one has been diagnosed with a mental illness. Some tend to feel scared. Others may experience guilt or shame. While it’s common to feel these things, you must learn how to cope with your situation to help your loved one better.

    Here are a few things you need to do and keep in mind if you know someone with mental health issues.

    1. Acknowledge Your Emotions

    Learning that someone close to you has been diagnosed with a mental illness can stir your emotions. You may feel fear, anger, grief, and guilt all at the same time. It’s natural to feel these things but don’t let them eat you up, and find ways to deal with them.

    Some people may feel anxious about their loved one’s condition getting worse. One way to ease this anxiety is to learn more about their illness. It helps to know the signs to watch out for and how to manage their symptoms. Read reliable sources online or even in print. You may also consult with mental healthcare providers. If you’re in San Diego, you can get support at

    It’s also common for parents to blame themselves when their children are confirmed to have mental illnesses. They feel guilty thinking they should’ve done something or have noticed the signs sooner. When this happens, it’s vital to remember that different factors, such as stress and other biological reasons, can cause mental disorders.

    Negative emotions toward mental illnesses can cause shame to the people living with them. So, learning how to ease these feelings is essential so they feel understood and supported.

    1. Be More Understanding

    People living with mental health issues can experience changes in mood and behavior. Sometimes, they’re easily agitated and may say hurtful words. Other times, they tend to push people away.

    It’s easy to feel bad during these times. But remember that their mental health disorders may trigger these behavioral changes. So, it’s helpful not to take them personally. If you feel overwhelmed by their heightened emotions, you can step back and ask for support from your family or friends.

    1. Check In With Each Other

    If you’re tending to someone with a mental illness, you may focus on them. But carers must also check in on each other. Ask your other family members how they feel. Assisting a loved one with mental health issues can feel stressful. Talking with one another helps in fostering support within the family.

    1. Show Support and Maintain A Positive Attitude

    People living with mental illnesses may feel embarrassed about their situation. This feeling of shame, especially with the stigma around mental disorders, inhibits them from opening up and asking for support. It’s helpful when family members show they care and are willing to stay.

     Here are some things to do to provide support:

    • Educate Yourself: Read about the common symptoms and how to ease them. Learning these things helps you better understand what they’re going through.
    • Listen: Lending a listening ear can also help people with mental health issues. But remember that you shouldn’t force them to speak up when they’re not ready. Instead, let them know you’re willing to listen if they want to talk.
    • Show Empathy: When they share their thoughts and feelings with you, listen with empathy and validate their emotions. You can tell them it’s okay to feel those things, and they’re not alone. Also, avoid giving them unsolicited advice.
    • Encourage Them To Get Professional Help: Mental healthcare providers can better help you and your loved one find ways to cope with their mental health issues, such as psychotherapy sessions or medications. 

    When your loved one starts taking steps to manage their symptoms, be patient about their progress. Pressuring them to get better instantly can stress them out and cause their symptoms to worsen.

    1. Take Care Of Yourself

    While you tend to someone else, it’s important that you also look after yourself. Offering care and support is hard if you’re tired and overwhelmed. Practice self-care to avoid burnout.

    Make sure you sustain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, maintain a balanced diet, and get adequate sleep. It’s also helpful to set time for yourself and your hobbies.

    1. Learn To Accept Help

    It’s vital to let people with mental illnesses feel that they’re not alone. And carers, too, need support from the people around them. You can share responsibilities with other family members.

    Moreover, there are support groups for the families of people with mental health issues. Join them so you can share your experiences with individuals in a similar situation as you.  You may also seek professional help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Talking to a mental health practitioner can help you find ways to cope and process your emotions better.

    Bottom Line

    Learn more about mental illnesses to understand better the people living with them. Show support by offering to listen and letting them know that they’re not alone. But don’t forget about yourself while caring for them. Ensure your needs are met, and you’re not compromising your health to help others. Seek help and learn to accept support as well.