How to Help a Family Member who has a Mental Disorder

It can be difficult to know what to do next when a loved one is diagnosed with a mental health disorder. There are so many questions and uncertainties. You want to be there to love and support your family member however you can, but knowing the best way to do so can be overwhelming. 

You might be finding yourself with more on your plate as you help your loved one make appointments and pick up medications. You could be finding yourself emotionally overwhelmed helping your loved one handle their own potentially volatile emotions. 

What do you do when you find yourself struggling as a result? 

There are options for family members to seek our supportive counseling when helping a family member cope with mental illness. You aren’t forgotten, even if you may feel like your problems don’t compare to your loved ones. Your struggles are significant, too. 

If you’re currently struggling with the pain and frustration that often comes with supporting a loved one with mental illness, don’t wait, reach out to a counselor today.  

How Can I Help A Family Member? 

Research has indicated that individuals with mental health disorders see significant improvements if they’re surrounded by love and care from those closest to them. You can do many important things to help a loved one cope, from helping with grocery shopping to driving them to their therapy appointments. 

Being a solid figure of support can help your loved one get on the road to recovery. Your support can help them learn to live with their mental health diagnosis and thrive through their challenges. All of these acts of support can add up to leaving you feeling overwhelmed, however. 

We’re going to share some things you can do to help care for your loved one and lessen the load on your mental health and better cope with the stress that comes along with these acts of service. 

Help Manage Their Schedule

Though it might seem easy for a neurotypical person, scheduling and time management can be extremely difficult for a person suffering from a mental health disorder. One way you can help your loved one is by helping with scheduling and time management. 

Help your loved one schedule and go to appointments. Help your loved one obtain medication. You’ll find that these small acts can help your loved one out more than you could realize. 

Don’t Make them Feel Out of Control

While it might seem desirable for you to take charge of your loved one’s mental health care, it’s detrimental to both you and your loved one for you to take control. 

Individuals dealing with mental illness thrive when they feel that they have control over their lives. Consider guiding rather than taking charge. Follow up with things, but don’t complete tasks yourself. Allow your loved one the feeling of independence that comes along with personal accomplishment. 

By doing so, not only will your loved one see the best results, but you’ll end up feeling less burned out. Avoid taking on more responsibility than you can handle. 

Take Care of Yourself

While it can feel easy to do everything for another person, you might find you leave little room for you. If you only work and care for a loved one, you’ll never have time to focus on yourself and your own mental health. It’s hard to help someone else when you aren’t caring for yourself. 

Ensure you’re leaving time to tend to your basic needs and that you’re penciling time in for your own self-care. Set aside time to read a book or relax away from commitments you’ve taken on to support your loved one. 

Not only will this ensure you avoid burnout, but your loved ones will respond better to your help if they don’t feel guilt over your assistance. If you wear yourself out and push yourself too hard, your loved one suffering from a mental health disorder will notice it could adversely affect their mental health. 

Seek Out Support Groups

It’s common to feel quite a few different emotions when a loved one is diagnosed with a mental health disorder. You might feel anger, guilt, and fear, and all of those emotions are normal. 

It is essential for you, though, to seek out support when these emotions become overbearing. Luckily, there are some resources you can take advantage of. 

Lisa Rogers Counseling offers supportive group and family counseling that can make a difference in your efforts to support a family member in their efforts to get help. Explore all the counseling options here.

An additional resources is the National Alliance on Mental Illness has put together support groups of individuals who have family members struggling with mental illness. These support groups are led by others in similar situations to yours and are designed to help you process your own trauma associated with your family member’s illness. 

You’re Not Alone

Sometimes, group counseling may not be enough for you to cope with your emotions around a family member’s diagnosis. At Lisa Rogers Counseling, we can help. We offer one-on-one adult therapy sessions to help you through all of the challenges of supporting a family member through their illness. 

Therapy serves many people across many circumstances and there are options for you, even if you don’t have a mental illness. Professional help is just that —  help. We can help you sort through your emotions and prepare you to take on any challenges you and your loved ones may face. 

Contact Lisa Rogers Counseling today and schedule your appointment.

Since 1993, I have been providing a combination of all my years of training tailoring specific treatments based on the individual needs and challenges of my patients, facilitating healing. I make every effort to accommodate the busy schedules of my patients by offering evenings, weekend appointments and Telemental Health (Online Counseling-Virtual/Video Conference and Phone Sessions) offered in the following states I am licensed in: New York, California, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, and Vermont.