Anyone can have a mental health diagnosis- including your close relatives. Your relative should feel relieved that there is an explanation for their behaviors and that there is treatment. Now that your relative has been diagnosed, it is important not to distance yourself from them as this is the time that they will need you the most to help them figure things out.
Ask your relative if they are doing anything to take care of their mental illness like getting therapy, taking medication, if their mental illness has presented to them any challenges, etc. If they are not treating their mental illness, point them in the right direction by referring to them a psychiatrist that specializes in that particular type of mental illness. Always make sure to take what your relative saying seriously such as never assuming their thoughts are an exaggeration or that it is all in their head. Be compassionate and understanding and make sure to listen to what they have to say. Always let your family member know you are there for them if they need help or just need to talk and take an interest in what they have to say.
It is also helpful to educate yourself on your relative’s mental illness so that you can have a better understanding of what they are going through and help them avoid any triggers that can cause symptoms to come up. Any tasks that are hard for your family member to handle, volunteer to do whatever you can to make things easier. You can also ask your relative if you can come with them to any therapy sessions that you can have an even better understanding of what to do when symptoms come up and how to best be there for them.
If your relative still feels too scared or is in denial that they need to seek treatment, tell them to treat mental illness the same way they would a physical illness. If you were feeling pain on the side of your stomach and the feeling gets worse, you would not ignore it and pretend it does not exist. You could end up having appendicitis and it can explode. Mental illness should be treated the same way where you should not wait for it to get worse to suddenly realize that you need help. A helping hand from someone they love can go a long way.
Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.