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How to Support a Loved One with Mental Health Issues

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Life throws curveballs, and sometimes those curveballs come in the form of mental health challenges for someone we care about. It can be tough to watch a loved one struggle, but you absolutely can be a source of strength and support. So, let’s dive into some ways you can be there for them, with a special focus on the power of active listening.

Understanding the Journey

First things first – knowledge is power! Mental health issues come in many forms, so take some time to learn about the specific challenges your loved one is facing. This can help you be more empathetic and understanding.

The Magic of Active Listening

Let your loved one know you’re there for them, and create a safe space for open communication. Here’s where active listening comes in. This is more than just hearing their words – it’s about truly paying attention and trying to understand their experience.

Active listening can be remembered using the acronym SOLER :

  • S – Silence: Put away distractions and make eye contact to show you’re fully present.
  • O – Open-Ended Questions: Go beyond “yes” or “no” to get a deeper understanding of their feelings and experiences. (“How are you feeling about that?” “Can you tell me more about what happened?”)
  • L – Listen without judgment: Avoid interrupting or offering unsolicited advice.
  • E – Empathize: Acknowledge their feelings and show you understand. (“That sounds really difficult,” “It’s okay to feel frustrated.”)
  • R – Reflect and clarify: Briefly summarize what you’ve heard to show you’re understanding and encourage them to elaborate. (“So it sounds like you’re feeling overwhelmed, is that right?”)

By actively listening using SOLER, you show your loved one that you care and want to understand their world.

Here to Help, Not Hurt

It’s important to remember that some things might not be helpful. Avoid giving unsolicited advice, criticizing their coping mechanisms, or making comparisons to others.

Be a Pillar, Not a Project

You can’t fix their problems, but you can be a strong pillar of support. Offer practical help like running errands, cooking meals, or accompanying them to appointments. Small gestures can make a big difference. Take initiative to help with errands, cooking meals, grocery shopping, or household chores. This frees up their mental and emotional energy, allowing them to focus on healing.

Encourage Professional Help

Therapy can be incredibly beneficial for managing mental health challenges. Support your loved one in finding a therapist they feel comfortable with, and offer to help with appointments or research. Do reach out to mental health professionals such as counselors, clinical psychologists, or psychiatrists. At the same time, do take note of the qualifications of each mental health professional that you choose to visit.

Respect Boundaries

Just like anyone else, your loved one may need some space sometimes. If they’re withdrawing from social activities or neglecting basic self-care, gently nudge them back towards healthy routines and social interaction. Suggest a walk in nature, a light activity they used to enjoy, or a virtual hangout with a friend.

Self-Care Matters Too!

Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s essential! Taking care of yourself is crucial when supporting someone else. Make sure you schedule time for your well-being, so you can avoid burnout and continue to be a strong support system. Schedule time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether it’s reading a book, spending time in nature, or connecting with your own support system.

Remember, You’re Not Alone

There are amazing resources available to help you on this journey. Support groups and online communities can connect you with others who understand what you’re going through.

Together We Rise

Mental health challenges can be tough, but with love, support, and the right resources, you and your loved one can navigate this journey together. Remember, you’re not alone in this.

Do you have any experience supporting a loved one with mental health issues? 

Stay tuned for future posts where we’ll explore specific mental health challenges and resources in more detail. See you next time!

I’m Emily, from MY Psychology KK

With you,

MY Psychology KK

To Book an Appointment for Psychotherapy Services: https://mypsychologykk.com/register-now/

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http://wasap.my/+601133116211