“1: It’s hard to see my loved one struggle, and I really want to help. What can I do to support them?” Mental Health: Help for Parents and Families (2019)
“How Do I Support Them?” Mental Health: Help for Parents and Families
There are many ways you can support your loved one through this challenge:
Keep communicating. Talk to your loved one the same way you did before their symptoms became noticeable or before their diagnosis. Ask questions instead of guessing what might be helpful.
Understand limits. Mental illness can reduce energy and motivation. Recognize that it may be hard for your loved one to read, pray, or participate in activities with others. Keep inviting them to do these things, but don’t take it personally if they turn you down.
Encourage them to get professional help. Be sensitive and kind in making this suggestion. Instead of saying, “Something is wrong with you—you need therapy!” try saying something such as, “I’m happy to listen when you want to talk. You might want to find someone with more training to help too.”
Practice self-care. Stress can be very harmful to your health. Take time to care for yourself by doing something you enjoy each day—you might take a few minutes to read a book, listen to music, sit in nature, or draw something. You might also consider talking with your bishop or ministering brothers or sisters or attending a support group in your area.
Show compassion. Express your concern for them and offer your support. Don’t minimize their struggle, and don’t compare their experience to someone else’s. Telling them to “snap out of it” or “try harder” is not likely to help and could just add strain to the relationship or cause further discouragement.