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How to help a loved one with a mental illness

By ANN NYATHIRA
Monday, October 21st, 2019
Mental health.

Mental health issues especially among young people are on the rise. It is difficult to watch someone you love go through problems with their mental health. So how do you delicately and compassionately convince your friend or family member to give therapy a try and see a trained professional?

Below are tips on how to suggest to someone close to you that they should seek an appointment with a mental health professional.

  1. Bring the subject up in a private or comfortable situation

Dinner table or in the middle of an event are a good example when not to initiate such a conversation. Finding the right place and the right time is crucial for such a sensitive topic, this will help a loved one feel confortable and less embarrassed by the situation.

One on one conversation about the matter at hand is highly recommended, especially when the issue arises so that the person involved can see your concern. Bringing the issue up gently is likely to be received more from the viewpoint of valid concern.

2. Show your motives for wanting them to seek help

Suggesting one to seek help can came off offensive since people can easily misinterpret the reason why therapy is being recommended. It is important to clarify why you are suggesting it to your loved one.

Use phrases that will show that the proposal is being fuelled by love and concern.

3. Destigmatize the experience

Informing your loved one of your support in the process and sharing how therapy will impact their lives can be helpful.

It is also advisable to frame the mental health issue the same way as physical health when suggesting about seeking therapy. No one sits at home and waits for their leg to heal when it is broken, you go to a doctor and have it fixed, the same is factual about mental heath. Staying at home and waiting for it to heal is not a solution.

4. Offer to find a good fit

It is important that your friend or family feel comfortable with the therapist they see so that they do not have an excuse for dropping out. Research for a good therapist on their behalf or providing the necessary resources

5. Expect some resistance.

One should expect some resistance when referring a loved one to therapy. Try to keenly listen to their resistance without being offended.

Give them time to validate their resistance, by letting them openly disagree on the suggestion.

While all is said and done, not everyone is ready for therapy even if you think it will be of great benefit to them. Should money be an obstacle, suggest offering to help locate low or cost services.