How to Comfort Someone with a Mental Health Disorder

» Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

How to Comfort Someone with a Mental Health Disorder

If you have ever had a close relationship with someone who has mental health issues, you likely have struggled at least once with the situation. It can be hard to navigate another’s emotionally needs, and especially difficult if your loved one is up against a mental health issue. Knowing what to say in times of escalated emotions can help you comfort your loved one and give them the support they deserve.

Here is a short list of helpful things to say to your loved one in times of need:

  • Reassure them of your support. Say something like “You’re right I can’t understand exactly what you’re going through, because I’m not you. But I do love you and I support you and I want to help you get through this.”
  • Give them some perspective. Remind them, “I know this is overwhelming, but you will not feel like this forever. This will pass and I will be here for you now and when it passes. Stay strong, the way you are feeling in this moment is not how you will feel forever.”
  • Lend them your strength.  Tell them, “I’m here for you, and you are not facing this alone. I know it is hard, but we will do this together and we will get through it.”
  • Let them vent to you, and actually listen.  Remind them, “Tell me what you’re going through. I want to know and I’m here to listen without judging you.”

Things to avoid saying to someone in a mental or emotional crisis:

  • Don’t devalue their feelings. Never minimize their issues by saying, ” Look everyone has stuff to deal with. Everyone goes through things, and you need to go through this and move on.”
  • Don’t offer an unrealistic and insensitive solution. Don’t try to “solve” their problem with tough love saying things like , ” Just get over it and stop feeling bad about it. You need to pick yourself up and start seeing the bright side”
  • Don’t criticize their process. Don’t say things like, “You are still upset about this? Haven’t you been sad for long enough? You need to stop worrying and stressing and start focusing on  XYZ.”

Unless you are a professional, don’t offer advice. Giving them “solutions” likely won’t help, but genuinely listening will. Listening to them will be of more assistance than saying things like, “Here’s my advice to you…stop letting this affect you”, or “What you need to do is…”. If you aren’t trained to deal with mental or emotional crises and disorders your advice may actually hurt someone who is dealing with issue like this.

 

Alpha Counseling has trained professionals that specialize in a range of emotional and mental health issues. If you or a loved one is struggling with emotional or mental health issues please reach out today. We have caring counselors waiting to help you process through your situation!

 Image by Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot at FreeDigitalPhotos.net