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How to support someone with a mental health problem

The world today has put a lot of pressure on people that mental health issues have been increasing worldwide. Stress from work, marital problems, intrapersonal matters, among others, all contribute to this crisis.

It is, therefore, vital to be prepared and know how you would help a friend or a loved one if they develop a mental health problem. If you also have a family member experiencing the same challenges and you want to know how to help them get through it, here are ideas on how to do it.

Detecting when something is wrong

The earlier you realize that something is wrong with your friend, spouse, or relative, the easier it will be to handle the problem before it gets out of hand. Treating mental health problems as soon as they are spotted is a much effective tactic.

So how can you see the tell-tale signs? Many people facing mental health issues will exhibit signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Withdrawal – you may notice someone no longer wants to be around friends and family, or they simply keep to themselves more than usual. He/she may also start declining invitations to events or meetings.
  • Reduced communication – if a person is no longer keeping in touch as much, it may be time you check up on them to see how they are doing.
  • Alcoholism – has their drinking rate increased? Binge drinking is more often than not a sign of emotional and mental turmoil.

Other signs that you can watch out include drug use, reduced performance at work or school, and moodiness, where they mostly show emotions of anger and distress.

Finding help

Once you have realized something is off about a person’s mental health, help them find the right support. Friends and family play a crucial role in determining which treatment plan is the best for the afflicted soul.

You can offer help by making the first appointment with a professional who will help you find out what exactly is wrong with your loved one. Understand that this stage will be challenging, especially if he/she is reluctant to accept help.

However, if they are willing to accept help, be supportive, and encourage them to go for it.

Handling medications and appointments

Be active around your loved ones by reminding them to take their medication and to set up any necessary appointments. Keeping an eye on their progress as they take their medications and attend the counseling sessions will also help you determine whether they are improving or not.

If they are having difficulties taking their medication, you can help them talk to their doctor to know what’s wrong and if the pills can be changed. Alternatively, you can come up with suggestions that make taking medicine easier.

Helping them maintain a balanced lifestyle

You can offer a helping hand in assisting them in running their business or finding a professional who can do it. This will help them have a more manageable work-life balance. Try also to actively contribute to problem-solving ideas and help champion a healthy diet and an exercise routine to keep them in shape.

Providing emotional support

Always remind them that it’s not their fault that they have a mental illness. Be supportive and patient with them and maintain an open communication channel. You can also help them join support groups and encourage them to attend the meetings.

Other ideas to consider under this include:

Spend more time with the person suffering from mental illness and show them that you are there for them if they ever need anything from you.

Give them space – don’t choke them too much by being on their face every time you are around. When you linger too much, you can make them feel that you don’t trust them.

Try to keep their minds occupied with other engaging things such as encouraging them to take a sport, hobby, or simply travel to a place they haven’t been to before.


Research has shown that support from friends and family members is one of the best remedies for people who are battling mental health issues. The emotional and practical support they get from them helps them feel loved, reassured and cared for. They, therefore, get through it faster and heal to become stronger versions of their previous selves. Moreover, being educated about mental illnesses reduces the risk of a lapse by 50%.

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