When someone you love is beginning to show signs of a mental disorder, it can be hard to watch. You may not feel like it’s your place to tell them to go to therapy, and it can be frustrating to feel like all you can do is sit by idly. While the process of convincing a loved one to see a therapist can be a tough task, with the right amount of patience, you can make a difference. Mental illness and its treatment continue to face widespread misunderstanding, stigma, and discrimination. In some environments and some minds, the very notion of reaching out for professional help is considered taboo.
This avoidance and denial regarding treatment for mental health problems only make it more difficult for the people who need it most. Ignoring the early signs of mental distress can lead to trauma, worsening conditions, complications, addiction, and even preventable death. Still, it can be hard to find the right way to convince someone you love that their mental and emotional health must be a top priority. Here are some effective ways to introduce the importance of mental healthcare to the people you love.
How You Can Help Your Loved Ones Consider Therapy
If you notice that your parents, aunts, or uncles aren’t doing well mentally, it could be time to step in. You may notice an excessive amount of anxiety, isolation, and changed behavior. Try to create a comfortable and open relationship that promotes conversations about mental health. While you won’t be able to replace the work of a professional therapist, an open conversation can be the catalyst that pushes them to get help. Remember that although it’s important to be there for the people you love, it’s often not a good idea to force anyone to seek help. If your loved one refuses to get professional help, give them their space while continuing to provide empathy in subtle ways.
You can start by normalizing therapy in conversation. Let them know that seeing a therapist doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong with them. Help them look at therapy as routine maintenance for the mind. Starting therapy yourself would give you a chance to lead by example. Seeing other healthy functional people seeking therapy to cope with their emotions can be highly convincing.
Regardless of the method you choose, do your best to be empathetic and genuine. Find ways to understand their emotions better so you can speak openly and empathetically with them. For them to trust you, they must know how much you care. You must convince them that your interest in their well-being is out of love. Provide a safe space for them to talk, and let them know that therapy is a similar safe space where their privacy will be maintained.
Create a Strong Support System
Problems like mental illness and addiction can have a negative impact on the entire family. As a unit, you want everyone in your family to receive the proper support they need. If each member of your family is taking better care of their mental health, you’ll form a united front against negativity and isolation. A sense of belonging and empowerment gained from a strong support system can help reduce the stress of those dealing with mental distress. When you and your loved ones successfully work together to create an effective support system, your entire family can excel in achieving long-term health and happiness.
A strong support system acts as a safe space for venting and spending time with loved ones. You can organize family outings like dinner, hiking, or a getaway gathering to get in some healthy quality time. Spend this quality time intentionally by getting to know more about each other to bring your family closer together. This will show any family members battling mental distress that it’s safe to talk about their issues.
Take Better Care of Yourself
In many situations, leading by example is the most direct way to get results. Supporting a family member who’s battling mental illness or addiction can be overwhelming if you aren’t taking care of yourself. The challenge arises from balancing your own well-being while trying to be there for your family members in their time of need. This is why it’s important to take the time to care for yourself and be sure your needs are being met. It will be much more difficult to take care of your family if you are not as well as you could be. Be intentional in taking care of your mental health, reducing stress, and investing time into your own happiness.
Introducing your family to the idea of taking care of their mind is not guaranteed to be an easy process. Developing a strong support system with your family is key when taking care of the ones who are struggling with issues like mental illness and addiction. Approach the situation with patience, empathy, and love. Remember to take care of yourself in order to better prepare for potential stress and normalize seeking professional help when you are overwhelmed. When your family member sees you or others taking care of their mental health, they will be more open to the idea of doing it themselves. Reach out to HealthyU for professional, sensitive assistance in helping the ones you love. We provide a plethora of emotional, mental, and behavioral health services designed to support you and your family members on group and individual levels. Contact HealthyU today at (619) 542-9542 to learn more.