People around the world have family members who suffer from a mental illness. It could be your mom, dad, brother, sister, or even your distant relatives. Sometimes, family members don’t even realize that someone in their home is suffering from a mental illness. Sadly, a lot of individuals are misinformed on how to cope once they find out that a family member is suffering from one.

When you find yourself dealing with a relative who has just been diagnosed with a mental health issue, this guide will give you essential information on how to attend to their needs and help them get through hard times—without sacrificing your own mental health:

What to Expect 

People diagnosed with mental disorders often recover from it. But it takes years of support and unconditional love from relatives to help them get over their illness. Sometimes people diagnosed with a mental health issue may get aggressive or irritable. Always be patient with them. Show them that you’re there to help and not to fight back.

How to Approach Your Relative

Some family members blame themselves for “letting” their loved ones get mental disorders. Always remember that none of it is your fault. Unfortunately, mental illness can happen to anyone, at any time, and there’s nothing you can do. 

Once you understand that, then you can start to accept the reality of the situation. Study up on ways you can help your family member suffering from a mental illness. Interact with them in a calm and positive manner or try bringing them to places with a serene and peaceful environment to help calm them during stressful times.

Showing Support for Your Loved Ones

Tread carefully with your words when talking to a family member suffering from mental illness. You’ll want to avoid accidentally offending them. For example, if someone from your family is addicted to substances, approach the issue cautiously and make sure to show your acceptance and support.

People with mental health issues tend to get worse when they are feeling that they are on their own. Get everyone in the family to show their love and support for them. This simple gesture will have a significant impact on their recovery.

Educating Yourself on Mental Health Issues

When a loved one is diagnosed with a mental health issue, then the matter becomes personal. You can’t go on living life without educating yourself on mental health issues. Research the do’s and don’ts when interacting with a person who suffers a mental illness. This will prevent any chances of you accidentally worsening their condition or making them feel burdensome or unwanted.

The Road to Recovery

With the right treatment plan, people that are diagnosed with a mental health disorder can either recover from it completely, or learn to cope with it. As their relative, you’re responsible for helping this process along by giving your family member tough love when they require it. Remember: only people who can help themselves can truly get better. When your family member is finally willing to recover or get better no matter how uncomfortable the path to recovery may be for them, then that’s when they’ll be easier to cooperate with and more consistent with their treatments. 

Getting Your Own Support

When a loved one is diagnosed with a specific mental health issue, it’s all too easy to shoulder their burdens as if it was your own. Don’t sacrifice your own mental health in an attempt to help someone else. If you’re feeling “compassion burnout” from caring for a loved one with a mental health issue, then consider getting your own support, such as a therapist or a counselor.

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