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Role of family and friends in mental health support

'Sometimes it's not the problem, but having no one to share it with is what eats you from within.'

The above line is being said with reference to mental health issues and how your close ones play a great role in helping you deal with that issues. With increasing complexities in the lifestyle of people, stress, anxiety, trauma led by certain events, and depression have become common in people's life. All these problems are more or less a part of everyday life for many people. Surrounded by negative emotions and feelings, people yet find a way to sail through it. How does it happen? It's because they have their close ones standing with them & supporting them in their toughest phase of life.

When going through mental health issues, many people feel embarrassed and feared for being judged by others. That is one of the primary reasons they often start feeling alone and isolated, as they are in a state of uncomfortableness in sharing their problems with others. In such situations, instead of recovering, people start falling deeper into the traps of mental illness, and that's where family and friends can play a vital role by offering mental health support.

Family or friends can provide mental health support in various ways.

It could be emotional support, financial assistance or even practical assistance through which closed ones can make a difference in someone's life who is having mental health issues.

Providing emotional support to those suffering from anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue is a great way to help them recover from these ailments. Since people with mental health problems often fear being judged by others for sharing their problems, friends and family can ensure that the concerned person is being heard. Family and friends should be understanding enough to process the affected person's thoughts. They should know what impact their reaction will have on the mind of the person already going through a lot. Family and close ones can also help cope with stress by providing a non-judgmental ear to the ones who need it.

It is not mandatory for loved ones to always provide a permanent solution to the problems of their close ones. Instead, simply listening to the person's issues, giving them the space to express themselves, and allowing them to express their emotions also provide essential mental health support.

Another way friends and family play a role in mental health support is by offering financial assistance. Everyone doesn't have ample amount of financial resources to be able to afford treatment for mental issues. Consulting a professional to help you deal with your mental issues is way more costly than one thinks. And then, already existing mental problems combined with the lack of resources to deal with those problems lead to an even exaggerated mental fall. Providing financial assistance in such cases helps a lot. People with mental illness already fear judgment; thus, asking for financial help is a far cry. Therefore, friends and family should offer financial assistance to those in need. It should be done so that the affected person doesn't feel embarrassed.

Can physical assistance or practical support help provide mental health support?

Physical assistance or practical support can be manifested in ways like helping with household chores or physical errands. Family and friends play an essential role in providing mental health support by helping the individual affected. It could be by offering help purchasing groceries, cleaning the house, making appointments for therapy sessions, etc. This way, individuals will spend less time on these things and focus on their mental health.

How can family and friends help in reducing mental health stigma?

Family and friends are capable of helping their close ones to deal with mental stress and other issues and, at the same time, contribute to reducing the mental health stigmas created by society by talking about it. Having a conversation aimed at mental health awareness will help the individual be comfortable in addressing such issues. It may include having an informative conversation with the individual affected. Providing education, creating awareness regarding the various treatment options available, and talking about choosing a therapist are some ways affected individuals can get comfortable while talking about mental health issues.

In conclusion, family and friends play an essential role in providing mental health support by being emotionally available to their close ones who need them, listening to them without any judgments, taking care of their financial needs, and allowing them to express themselves. All these things provide the individual with a sense of relief and comfort as he understands that he is not alone in all these and has his loved ones by his side. These little things create a tremendous difference in the individual's life.

Written By:

Gahana Thorat

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