Millions of people are diagnosed and treated for some kind of mental illness each year. It’s hard to watch someone you know suffer from any kind of illness, but mental issues can be extremely painful because some people with this condition lose the will to live, and it’s not always easy to get them the help they need before it’s too late. If you know someone with mental illness, there are things you can do to show your support.
Try to find the nature of the problem. You can do this by paying attention to the person’s behavior. This will help you to get an idea of what is wrong. Although mental issues can only be diagnosed by a medical professional, many times the symptoms a person exhibits will match those of a specific illness. A depressed person may be suicidal and his overall behavior may noticeably change to those around him.
Offer your support. Many people with mental issues feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to. Be sure to open the lines of communication, and try to make the person feel comfortable talking to you. If your loved one knows there is someone who cares, she may be more likely to turn to you when she needs help rather than acting on her feelings.
Help your loved one seek medical treatment. Some people with mental issues don’t seek treatment because they don’t think there is anyone who can help them. A doctor will refer therapies or prescribe medications that can help them deal with their problems. Many people don’t realize that mental illness can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, or that it is treatable.
Take action on the person’s behalf. If the person is exhibiting harmful behavior or speaking about committing suicide or doing something to hurt others, you need to call an emergency helpline such as a suicide hotline or even 911. Professionals at these organizations will be able to get help for the person in need.
Contact your state’s department of mental health, social service departments, hospitals, local advocacy organizations and outreach programs to get information, referrals and recommendations for treatment programs. These places will have an abundance of resources to help people with mental illnesses.
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