“Misinformation about mental illness shames and discriminates those suffering with depression from getting professional help.”
—Deborah Serani, PsyD
Mental Illness is the stigma of the mind that is common nowadays. The cases of patients battling with the illness have been increasing through the years. But, what if it happens in one of our family members? What can we do to support and help them recover from the illness?
Aside from medical treatment in the hospital facilities, you surely are capable of supporting them towards their journey of recovery. Mental health professionals always mention that the best treatment of any mental health problems comes from the family itself. Helping a family member with mental health comes first by recognizing it, and then followed by supporting them.
Recognizing The Early Signs Of Mental Health Illness In A Family Member
Recognizing the illness means paying close attention to sudden changes in behavior. Example, for those afflicted with depression. “Some people who are diagnosed with depression do not report feeling depressed, sad or low, but rather, they report experiencing significantly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day,” says Simon Rego, PsyD.
As a family member, it is vital that you know how to identify the early signs of mental health problems so in that way you can efficiently address and seek help for treatments.
The listed signs and symptoms below will help you recognize the condition from anyone in your family.
- Confused Thinking. Whether your family member is an adult or teenager, he or she may experience disorganized thoughts. Recognizing this symptom will help you see that the person has difficulty in speaking logically.
- Drastic Change in Eating and Sleeping Patterns. A family member with mental health problems usually exhibits a sudden change in eating habits and sleeping patterns. Most of the time he or she refuses eating. Furthermore, he or she cannot sleep on time leading to cases of insomnia.
- Unreasonable Fears and Anxieties. When a family member has a mental health problem, he or she usually thinks of strange thoughts leading to withdrawal from society, sadness, and frequent anger.
- Inability to Perform Responsibilities. Most mental health patients show this sign because they cannot cope up with the problems arising from their daily activities.
- Extreme Loss of Temperament/Tantrum. Since they cannot control their emotions, these signs could lead to suicidal thoughts.
How Do I Support and Help Out A Family Member With Mental Health Problems?
After recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, always remember that it is not a single-handed journey of the patient but also a journey of the people surrounding them. You can support and help out your family member by the following ways below.
- Connect and Learn To Communicate. Every journey of recovery starts with communication. If one of your family members is in need of help, talk with them to divert their attention from messy thoughts. By connecting with them, you will also be able to establish a support network for them.
- Be Knowledgeable. Everyone in the family who is not undergoing mental health problems must also be knowledgeable about the phenomenon. It can be done by also seeking information and helpful what-to-do guidelines from mental health professionals.
- Taking Time Out. Remember that every recovery journey comes with patience. You can support a family member by not forcing them to be alright in a sudden. Keep things at the right phasing.
- Discuss the Topic With a Mental Health Doctor. A family member with mental health problem will feel safe if accompanied by its support group to get assistance from doctors.
“Laughter is good medicine that can raise your endorphins, the feel-good neurochemicals in the body. Depression isn’t just the result of a biochemical imbalance. It is an opportunity to grow, to love yourself more, and to receive support from those who love you.” —Judith Orloff MD, psychiatrist.
If you want to win this mind battle of mental health illness, recognize and support a family member undergoing the condition. Always talk with them and encourage you are with them in the journey towards recovery.