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How to Support a Loved One Struggling with Mental Illness

Mental illness can be a difficult and isolating experience, and supporting a loved one who is struggling can be challenging. However, there are various approaches that you can use to help and make a positive impact on your loved one’s journey towards healing and recovery.


First and foremost, it’s important to educate yourself about mental illness. This can help you better understand what your loved one is going through and how to support them in a helpful and compassionate way. There are many resources available, such as books, websites, and support groups, that can provide you with valuable information and guidance.


It’s also important to remember that everyone’s experience with mental illness is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to be open to hearing your loved one’s perspective and to respect their feelings and needs.


Below are 7 specific ways that you can use to support a loved one struggling with mental illness.



  1. Practice active listening: When your loved one is talking to you about their experiences with mental illness, try to listen attentively and without judgment. Avoid interrupting or offering unsolicited advice, and instead try to simply understand their perspective and validate their feelings.

  2. Encourage self-care: Help your loved one prioritize self-care and encourage them to engage in activities that promote physical and emotional well-being, such as exercising, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and finding enjoyable hobbies.

  3. Help them manage their symptoms: Depending on your loved one’s specific needs and circumstances, there may be certain strategies that can help them manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. These could include things like medication, therapy, or lifestyle changes. You can help your loved one research these options and find what works best for them.

  4. Be understanding of their limitations: Mental illness can affect a person’s ability to function in various areas of their life, such as work, school, or social activities. It’s important to be understanding of your loved one’s limitations and to support them in finding ways to manage their symptoms and maintain a sense of balance and stability.

  5. Offer practical support: Depending on your loved one’s needs, you may be able to offer practical support in various ways. This could include helping them manage their daily tasks, such as grocery shopping or paying bills, or providing transportation to appointments.

  6. Encourage social support: Social support is an important aspect of mental health, and it can be helpful for your loved one to have a network of people they can turn to for support and encouragement. Encourage your loved one to connect with others, whether it be through support groups, therapy, or simply spending time with friends and loved ones.

  7. Seek support for yourself: Supporting a loved one with mental illness can be emotionally and mentally draining, and it’s important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as well. Consider seeking support from others, such as friends, family, or a support group, or finding healthy ways to cope with stress.

Remember, supporting a loved one with mental illness is an ongoing process, and it’s important to be patient and understanding. Every person’s journey is unique, and it may take time to find what works best for your loved one. With your support and understanding, however, you can help them on the path towards healing and recovery.


If you need support while supporting your loved one, reach out and to book your own Walking Session HERE.


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