31 Jul 2017
helping someone with mental illness

Helping Someone with Mental Illness

Helping someone, a loved one, friend or stranger with mental illness can be challenging. Often the world turns their back and there is no one left to turn to, but how sad. The time they NEED someone most, you can step in and be that lifeline. Expect nothing in return, but at the same time, in your heart you know you are doing the right thing and are making a difference. That alone is payment enough. What comes around usually goes around ten times over. If you live your life by treating others as you would want to be treated, you can’t go wrong.

Being Present

Let them know you are by their side, and you will remain by their side through thick and thin. Let them talk and share their concerns and do not judge. Let them feel comfortable with you, and they will understand you are there unconditionally. This may help them feel better about seeking treatment.

Getting Treatment

Let them know you are willing to go with to their appointment and stay by their side. Nobody will make them do anything they do not want to. Treatment is so very important for people suffering with mental illness. After they get diagnosed, be there voice. Medicines can work right away, and at the same time, they can be too strong and you need to be their voice and let the doctor know. They may need to try many different meds before the right one is found. Every person is different and what works for one may not work for another.


Safety first, and often when someone is put on a new medicine, they do not know the side effects. The doctor may suggest they do not drive the first week, and you can be there to make sure they do not. They may think they feel ok to, but you do not want to put an innocent family or young driver on the road at risk. Offer to do any driving and if need be, take the keys.

Follow Through

Getting on medication is step one, following through by taking meds regularly and being seen by the doctor is key. Some people get completely better on meds and feel they no longer need them, not true. They need to continue their treatment.

There is such a wide spectrum of mental illness, from bouts of depression, to panic disorder, to bipolar and so on. They can have a mild condition or severe. Sometimes the person may need help with a co-occurring addiction. If they’re taking medications or drugs, make sure to find them the right help. There are some drugs that can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, such as benzos and alcohol. Find a reputable benzodiazepine detox or alcohol detox facility to make sure your loved one stays safe.

Reach your hand out and make the difference in someone’s life. It is simple to love people when everything is good. But being there and helping someone with mental illness can be trying at times. You on the other hand, will be a better person because of it. Don’t forget to take care of yourself first. If you are taking care of yourself and loving yourself, you will be strong enough to help someone else.

About the Author
This post was written by one of our staff writers at Alternative Relief!

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