Mental health and your loved ones: How to support someone having a mental breakdown?

We have all been there, there have been days when we sobbed like a baby, almost ate our fingers in stress, or fought with people just because we had a volcano of emotions burning inside. So, while you were there in your worst moments, having a mental breakdown, did you want to be helped? Did you wish to be supported? 

There’s no shame in answering in the affirmative, after all, we are all humans wanting to be listened to. All of us have mental breakdowns, and all of us seek that support. Even your loved ones who are fighting battles and having mental breakdowns now and then, wish to have that support. 

But how do we support them? Strangely, not all of us know how to support our loved ones emotionally in their time of need. Most of the time we say the wrong things with zero realisation. Instead of helping, we make things worse. 

So, if you want to help your closed ones through their breakdowns and contribute to improving their mental health, this blog is just for you. 

Let’s face it. Mental health is an essential aspect of our overall well-being, and it affects not only the individuals who experience it but also those who care about them. Even though it can be a distressing and emotionally draining experience, knowing how to provide support and understanding during such times is crucial. In this blog, we’ll explore what a mental breakdown is, its signs and symptoms, and offer practical advice on how to effectively support someone going through one.

Understanding mental breakdowns

Providing support to someone experiencing a mental breakdown can be challenging, but your presence and understanding can make a significant difference in their recovery. Here are some essential steps to help your loved one during this difficult time:

Be an active listener

Listening is one of the most crucial ways to support someone in distress. Create a safe, non-judgmental space for them to express their feelings and thoughts. Avoid interrupting, offering solutions, or minimising their feelings. Sometimes, all a person needs is someone who will genuinely listen to them.

Encourage professional help

While your emotional support is valuable, mental breakdowns often require professional assistance. Encourage your loved one to seek help from a therapist, counsellor, or psychiatrist. Offer to help them find a mental health professional, make appointments, or even accompany them to their first visit if they’re comfortable with that.

Educate yourself

Educating yourself about your loved one’s specific condition or the causes of their mental breakdown can help you better understand what they are going through. It will also allow you to provide more informed and empathetic support.

Be patient

Recovery from a mental breakdown is not linear. There will be good days and bad days. Be patient and understanding, and avoid expressing frustration or disappointment if their progress seems slow. Your consistent support is essential during this period.

Offer practical help

Help your loved one with day-to-day tasks that may be overwhelming for them. This could include cooking meals, running errands, or providing childcare if they have children. By lightening their daily load, you can reduce their stress and anxiety.

Encourage self-care

Promote self-care activities that can help them cope with their mental health challenges. This might include exercise, meditation, journaling, or engaging in hobbies they enjoy. Encourage them to prioritise self-care, and consider joining them in these activities if appropriate.

Respect their boundaries

While it’s important to offer your support, respect your loved one’s boundaries. Understand that they might need time alone or may not always be ready to talk about their feelings. Give them space when they need it and be available when they’re ready to connect.

Stay informed about crisis resources

It’s crucial to be aware of crisis resources and hotlines in case of emergencies. Knowing how to connect your loved one with immediate help can be a lifesaver.

Take care of yourself

Supporting someone through a mental breakdown can be emotionally taxing. Don’t forget to prioritise your own mental and emotional well-being. Seek support for yourself from friends, family, or a therapist if necessary.

Closing thoughts

Supporting a loved one through a mental breakdown can be challenging, but it is a crucial and compassionate act. Your presence, understanding, and willingness to help them access professional care can make a significant difference in their recovery journey. Remember that mental health is a delicate issue, and providing the right support can help your loved one regain their sense of well-being and stability. Together, you can navigate the challenges of mental health and work towards a brighter, healthier future.

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