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How to Help a Loved One with Mental Health Issues

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There are millions of individuals living with various forms of mental health disorders. The figure stands at about 1 in 5 people, so chances are you have a relative experiencing an issue. There are multiple elements crucial to managing and recovering from mental health conditions, and one is you lending a helping hand to your relative, friend, or acquaintance experiencing this problem. Our support goes a long way in the lives of those we care about, and here’s how you can help out.

Brush up on Your Knowledge of Mental Health Issues

The first way to help your family member is to learn about mental health disorders. Doing research will improve your knowledge of how to identify a problem and manage the situation. There are multiple topics you should consider looking into, such as possible treatments, response teams, triggers, symptoms, and more.

When we have problems or exhibit behavioral patterns alien to our nature, family and friends are always the first to pick up on these changes. Thus it is critical to know common triggers and signs of mental health issues as early detection is crucial to effective treatment.

Common Signs of Some Mental Health Disorders.


People who experience depression show the following symptoms.

  • Exhibit low self-esteem;
  • Lack of appetite;
  • Easily prone to fatigue;
  • Sudden lack of interest in hobbies;
  • Prone to negative mood swings; and
  • In the worst scenarios, have suicidal thoughts.


Here are common signs of anxiety.

  • Concentration difficulties;
  • Easily irritable or startled;
  • Increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating;
  • Trouble thinking about anything other than the present worry; and
  • Suspiciously avoid certain situations.

Other Signs of Mental Health Issues

Some mental health issues, such as panic attacks and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are forms of anxiety. Individuals experiencing the former often exhibit sudden bouts of intense fear, have breathing difficulties, and feel ill. OCD manifests in the form of compulsive and obsessive habits. Individuals with this mental health disorder become anxious and irritable if they don’t complete certain actions.

Other mental health issues can lead individuals to perform bodily self-harm in an attempt to handle emotional pain. Many people also experience a false or different reality, as is in the case of schizophrenia and thought disorders.

Discuss the Problem

Many people experiencing mental health issues tend to keep it a secret or are unaware of the problem. Often, they try to manage the situation themselves, which causes more harm as valuable time needed to get the help goes to waste. You shouldn’t wait for them to bring up the issue. Rather talk to the relative or loved one you feel is having a problem. Do this in a manner that shows you have his or her best interest at heart.

When discussing a sensitive topic with your loved one, you should aim to provide a comfortable space, as feeling at ease is critical to good communication. Friends and family will open up to you when you’re empathic about their mental health issues.

Tips to Aid with Your Discussion

Here are tips to help you achieve the appropriate comfort level when discussing mental health issues.

  • Remember to always listen and don’t think you know what’s happening by making assumptions.
  • Don’t act as a judge, but as someone always there to lend a listening ear.
  • Let them lead the conversation, revealing only as much as they want to at the moment.
  • Advise them to seek professional help, such as getting the right medical treatment or therapy and joining the appropriate support groups.

Support your Loved One in Vital Areas

Here are ways you can support your family, friends, or anyone else living with mental health issues.

Advise Them to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

You can set them on the path to recovery by helping them live a healthy lifestyle. This includes the following.

  • Taking care of the body;
  • Exercising;
  • Practicing proper sleeping habits;
  • Indulging in healthy habits or learning a new skill;
  • Avoiding harmful behaviors such as smoking and excessive gambling or drinking;
  • Indulging in various stress-relieving activities;
  • Eating healthy meals; and
  • Meditation.

Help Them Keep up with Their Treatment

You can calmly remind them about taking their medications and keeping up with therapy appointments. When you know their sessions and treatment schedules, you can easily monitor their progress and provide helpful information to a doctor. It also shows that you care about their well-being and also ensure that they don’t fall behind on their medications.

Help Relatives Manage Stressful Scenarios

Stress is a common trigger for mental health issues. Financial or housing troubles, an upcoming life-changing event or decision, a traumatic experience, a work overload, and more can lead to such problems. You can help out in a variety of ways.

  • Helping them with housing or financial aid.
  • Offering a listening ear or assisting with various tasks.
  • Providing guidance and help to make critical decisions.

Reach Out to the Appropriate Group

You should try to stay supportive, patient, and understanding even when your relatives or friends lash out. Providing them with the care and resources they need can be stressful and leave you also in need of emotional support. Remember that you aren’t alone, and there are millions of people in a similar situation. Consider signing up for a support group for individuals with loved ones experiencing mental health issues.

Joining a support group will help you gain strength through sharing your experiences, helpful tips, and opportunities to create emotional connections. Your emotional health is crucial, so you should also tend to it.

You must understand your limits and realize when your loved one requires professional help. If you feel he or she could be a danger to self or others, contact a clinic, crisis center, or mental health professional for assistance.

Final Thoughts

Making loved ones feel comfortable and at ease is critical to helping them recover from mental health issues. Empathize and provide support to your loved ones as it’s important to show that they aren’t the reason for the problem. Help them believe there’s always hope, and given the appropriate time, treatment, and support, they’ll get past their current difficulties. In the event of a crisis, here’s how you can handle the situation.

  • Try to get them calm.
  • Listen, advise, and direct them to appropriate help resources and groups.
  • Ask about what they need.
  • Don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.

Contact a Resource Specialist

About the Author: Timothy M. Kennedy is a freelance writer and guest blogger at Writix, with write-ups centered around healthcare and wellness, among other topics. He reads books and plays video games when he is not trying to learn something about everything.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios only.

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