Knowing a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder can be extremely hard on everyone involved, especially when you are not sure how to approach the subject, what to say, or how to help. You may find yourself trying and trying, to no avail, which makes it feel like you’re doing more damage than repair. When faced with this situation, here are some helpful tips to working with your loved one to find appropriate care:
1) When talking with them, it is important to validate their emotions and feeling. It is helpful to look past the current issue that is causing the discord in order to identify and validate the specific feelings they are having in relation to the situation. Repeat those feelings back to them to help reduce the anger or tension.
2) Affirm them and give reassurance of their value in life. Affirmations can help to reduce feelings of rejection or negativity. So it is important to tell them that their relationship to you and others is important and remind them that God sees them as valuable and worthy.
3) These first two steps are important in resolving any tension in the situation. This will allow you to provide and create solutions alongside your loved one. Excuses to why something won’t work may come up and finding a solution may take a while, which can become frustrating, however don’t let this stop the process. Continue to validate their feelings and affirm their value. You want to work towards decisions with them, not decide for them. It is important they feel they are taking part in their process of recovery.
4) Although try you might, sometimes you just really won’t be able to understand exactly what your loved one is going through, but that doesn’t change the fact that you love them and you want to help. When this happens it’s okay to say that you don’t understand, but you want to, you are there for them, and you love them.
5) Finally, reach out to loved ones, faith communities, and mental health professionals for help, support, and guidance through the process. Finding a support group can be very beneficial for your loved one, but also for you. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your needs on this journey. Taking care of yourself will only help you to better care for your loved one.