Mental health conditions present lots of challenges, not only to the sufferers, but as well as to the people that surround them. The very behaviour and treatment of the family and friends of these individuals with mental problems has significant impact on the well-being of the latter. These people are considered as the primary source of support to the patient. Relapse of the condition is more likely to happen among sufferers whose relatives treat them either hostile and judgemental or too careful and too emotional.
The tips below are some of the things family and friends should consider when helping people with mental problems.
Family and Friends’ Acknowledgement
It is important for the key persons, such as family and friends, to accept the existing condition of the patient. Patients tend to deny that there might be something wrong with them, leading to refusal of medical help. However, there are also instances that families and friends discreetly deny the presence of the mental conditions of their loved one. Acknowledging it in the most graceful way possible can be a good start in assisting the patient in their own condition.
Individuals who are interested in helping in the recovery process must also recognize their own feelings about the patients and the condition itself. Through this, their own emotions won’t be able to stand in the way by being too rigid or too nervous about it, and the patient will be handled as natural as possible.
Family and Friends’ Knowledge
The people that surround the patient must also review the nature and characteristics of the mental condition. According to few studies, there is as much as great reduction of relapse rates, hospitalization days and even symptoms appearance among patients with family and friends who are educated about their illness. Learning important details of the mental condition would allow these individuals to be better advocates, especially in the rough periods of the illness. For example, occurrence of violent ideations and suicidal thoughts are important safety concerns. If the surrounding people dismissed or misunderstood learning about the illness, mishap can result.
Family and Friends’ Expectations
Family and friends expectations can help the patients build up their confidence and reinforce their own pace and direction of recovery. The medical and health objectives imposed on the patient can be much helpful if the goals at home are paired with the limitations of the presenting symptoms.
Families, friends and other individuals that surround them must not assume that institutionalization has already treated the condition, thus, expect the patients to perform in the usual degree. They must be able to set realistic expectations from the patient because the sufferer has already reached high stress levels. Hence, reasonable and adjusted expectations must be given.
Family and Friends’ Support
Appraisal, instrumental and emotional forms of support by family and friends are very vital to the patients with mental conditions. Spending time with the loved one during their rough days is a good way to show the needed assistance. Through the time spent with the patient, family members can help in reminding them of their medication schedule, physician’s appointment, and therapeutic homework. However, it is also crucial to promote independence and autonomy in the part of the person with mental illness. Allow the patient to perform tasks themselves, and just provide very minimal supervision.
Family and Friends’ Limitations
Family and friends must set limitations for the persons with mental condition, because most of the time they cannot exercise it on their own. There are lots stories that individuals with mental problems go out of control and caused terrible situations to the families and community. For instance, it is not good to allow the patient to stop taking medications due to his complaints on side-effects. This can lead to relapse resulting in to aggressive behaviours towards the other family members and community.
Mental health crisis can happen to anyone. It is important not to let societal stigma get in the way of providing the much needed help of your loved one during this critical time.