How You Can Support Your Loved One’s Mental Health
With so many changes going about in our daily lives and in the world around us, a greater focus on mental health and wellbeing has become more important than ever. This is especially true as many of us experience more time spent at home during global quarantine.
As we always say, “When you know better, you do better”, and with September being National Suicide Awareness Month, we wanted to share some ways that you can support your loved one’s mental health and foster a healthier and more understanding relationship with those you care about most.
1. Learn More About Mental Health
It is estimated that more than 264 million people around the world are affected by depression, yet many continue to suffer in silence. Because this topic is so rarely discussed, there are many stigmas and misconceptions related to mental illness. “Just cheer up” or “Stop thinking about it” are common responses that many sufferers hear in regards to their mental health, but it’s important to understand that depression is a very serious and debilitating mental illness that needs to be treated with respect and empathy.
Instead of remaining in the dark, we encourage all our readers to research mental illness and learn to understand the most common symptoms or signs that your loved one may be having a hard time. By educating yourself on the complexities of mental illness, you are better equipped to join in the conversation, to understand why your loved one is feeling this way and how you can support them.
2. Offer to Help With Everyday Tasks
Many of us have experienced days where it seems like there’s a thousand things to do and never enough time to do it all. But for individuals suffering from depression or other mental health issues, even the most day-to-day tasks can feel overwhelming. If someone you know is struggling with depression, a good way to help them feel grounded is offering to help with small, everyday tasks.
Remember: asking for help is not always easy for people who are struggling, so being the one to make the first move can make all the difference. Try being specific when offering help by asking questions like:
- Can I make you dinner?
- Is it okay if I pick up your groceries?
- Can I take your kids to school for you?
- What do you need from me right now?
Helping with day-to-day errands, chores, or tasks can be the first step to easing your loved one’s mental burden and help them feel more supported.
3. Let Them Know They’re Loved
At the end of the day, never underestimate the power of good companionship and unconditional love. If someone you know is going through a difficult time, sometimes the best option is to let them know that you’re there for them without expectations. Simple acts of kindness, such as a call to check-in or a handwritten note, can help them understand that you’re there.
Together, We Can Break the Stigma
Joining the conversation surrounding mental illness can take time, but by doing so, you are better preparing yourself to care for your loved one and support their journey while also breaking the silence on one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. We encourage you to take some time today to reach out to a loved one and ask how you can help them feel more loved and supported.
If you or someone you know is struggling with signs of depression and you feel they may be having suicidal thoughts, please do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 for free, 24/7 confidential support.