How to Talk to a Loved One About Their Mental Health

We are more than two decades into the 21st century, and, sadly, talking about mental health struggles is still a bit of a taboo. 

This problem multiplies when you want to talk to someone you care about regarding their mental health. Finding the right balance can be tricky if you’re going to be supportive and understanding without being too intrusive or rude. It seems like the closer you are to the one with a mental health issue, the harder it is to speak to them.

Read this article to learn how to talk to a loved one about their mental health.

Be supportive 

When you start talking to your loved ones about their mental health, remember to be supportive and judgment-free.

Support from friends and family is an integral part of helping someone who is going through any mental health issue. You should be there for them and help create an emotional support network for the one you care about.

Sometimes, all you have to do is remind them that help is available and that they are not alone in their struggle. 

Let your friend or family member know that you care about them and their well-being. Often, actions speak louder than words, so make an effort to listen to them, their thoughts, ideas, and troubles.

Even if your loved one is depressed or suffering from anxiety, make an effort to include them in everyday activities with other friends or family members. They will most likely decline, but the important part is they know that you still consider them an essential part of your inner circle.

Try to educate others about mental health issues, so they don’t judge the person with mental health issues and don’t discriminate. Remember to always treat them with compassion, respect, and understanding.

Be open minded 

When you choose to talk to a loved one about their mental health, do not try to diagnose them or second guess their feelings. 

Remember, you are not there to solve their problems, even if you can do so. You have to offer them a helping hand and let them know that professional help (such as Firefly therapy) is available. 

When talking to them, do not make any assumptions about the way they feel. Keep your questions open-ended and let the person you are talking to fill in the blanks.

Once again, it is essential not to be too intrusive. Let the other person talk as much - or as little - as they want to.

During the conversation, listen carefully to what they are telling you and try to understand their position. Even if you disagree with them, let them know you respect their feelings. 

If you decide that it is appropriate, talk about mental wellbeing with them. Sometimes, it will be enough to mention de-stressing techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, and exercise.

Other times, you might conclude that your loved one needs professional help. Let them know that you will be their aide in finding the support they need and look into ways of getting the assistance that is right for them.

Do more than just talking 

There are ways that you can help even if your loved one is already in therapy. You can help them with medications, treatments, and appointments.

If you live with the person who struggles with their mental health, you can make it your duty to remind them to take their meds and see if they have any problems with taking the medication.

If your loved one is having trouble taking their medication, encourage them to talk to their doctor or pharmacist about side effects or anything else that stops them from taking the recommended medication. 

Ultimately, if they don’t have a good relationship with their therapist or doctor, help them find a new one. Assure them that their comfort and wellbeing are your top priority.

If you can, help your friend or family member with real-life issues as well. Make sure they are getting enough sleep and that they are eating a healthy diet. Help them with house chores and keeping their place - and themselves - clean. If you can, help them with finances, exercise, and solving other problems, too.

Remember that you might need support too

Helping a loved one with mental health issues can be tough. Remember that you might need help too and consider joining a support group or talking to a mental health professional of your own.

Sometimes all the love and support you can offer simply won’t be enough. If you notice that your friend or family member is struggling for a few weeks or even months, that is almost a certain sign that they need professional help.

Once again, be there for them along the way and let them know that they are not alone. Your unconditional support can make all the difference to them on their way to recovery.