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Supporting Someone With A Mental Health Illness
Supporting Someone With A Mental Health Illness
19 Oct 2020

When it comes to mental health illness, it can be hard for both the person suffering from it and their friends and family. The hardest part is not knowing how you can support them without it being awkward or overbearing.

There are small things that you can do to give someone that suffers from a mental health illness support. Here is what you need to know.

 

Learn about the illness

Different types of mental health illnesses can range from mild to severe. Therefore, it is crucial to get a professional diagnosis of what a loved one is going through to find a way to move forward. It can also make it easier to find the right medical attention that can benefit them. Learning about the illness along with the signs and symptoms can make it easier for both you and a loved one to navigate your way to them becoming better.

 

Avoid patronising or belittling them

It's normal for people to feel awkward about how they can associate themselves with someone who has a mental illness as they fear that they may trigger them or make things worse. The most crucial thing that you can do to benefit both you and a loved one is to keep your social interaction as normal as possible.

 

Continue to include them in the normal activities they used to do and invite them to family or social gatherings.  Avoid belittling or patronising them in terms of how you speak and interact with them. As much as they need your support during this time it is important to always listen to what they need and avoid being overbearing.

 

Listen more

While encouraging and guiding your loved one through an illness, one of the best things that you can do is listen. But what questions can you ask to avoid becoming overbearing and having them shut down? This will differ from person to person, which is why it is important to ask leading questions that get them to talk more about what they want and how they are feeling.

 

Encourage them to seek support

There is only so much help that we can offer our loved ones, which is why it is important to encourage them to seek professional help. It's crucial not to force them into seeking professional help, but support and encourage them by offering help and to be there each step of the way. You can support them by offering to take them to their appointments or reminding them about it. You can also encourage them to contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) to get assistance. 

 

Spend more time outdoors and being active

Being stuck behind the four walls of a house can make one spiral into a deeper hole of anxiety and depression. Therefore, try to set small goals that encourage them to go outside, even if it is for a walk. Pacing yourself is crucial whether you are spending time outdoors or doing any form of exercise. The aim is to help them destress and keep them calm. Some days may be harder, but it's important to be patient and offer them the necessary support to get them through.

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