Mental illness can be debilitating and can interfere with a person’s everyday life. It may affect their work, hinder their happiness, and even strain their relationships. Although the person with the mental health disorder is constantly fighting their inner demons, their loved ones are likely struggling, too. When one’s mental health is neglected, one risks hitting a breaking point or “rock bottom.” If you suspect that a loved one is close to this point, here are some tips on how to help someone having a mental breakdown.
What to Say to Someone Having a Mental Breakdown
If your loved one has a mental illness or struggles with poor mental health, it can be overwhelming. You want to help, but you may not know how. It is normal to feel lost, but these tips on what to say to someone having a mental breakdown help you and your loved one get through this.
Look For Warning Signs
The first step to helping someone with mental health problems is being able to recognize the problem. If you suspect your loved one’s sour mood is more than just a bad day or that their anxiousness is more than the average anxiety, do your research. There may be a mental illness present that you or even your loved one isn’t aware of.
Some common warning signs of a mental breakdown to look out for include worrying, irritability, agitation, feeling helpless, getting angry easily, losing interest in one’s favorite activities, and uncontrollable crying. A big part of learning how to help someone having a mental breakdown is understanding the warnings that precede one.
Once your loved one goes to the doctor and gets a proper diagnosis, your job doesn’t end there. Now it’s the time to educate yourself on their mental health disorder so that you can help them monitor their symptoms and you can get a better understanding of how you can help.
Navigating how to comfort someone who has a mental breakdown isn’t easy. They may test your patience or push your limits, but your loved ones must know they have your support. You want to encourage open communication with them and ensure them that you are there for them.
You may not always be able to understand what your loved one is going through, but you can be there for them to lean on. Listen to what they have to say and let them vent. They will be happy to have someone who will listen to them and validate their feelings instead of trying to offer solutions.
Recruit the Professionals
You are not a mental health professional, so you cannot be expected to know how to help someone with mental illness. If your loved one is struggling or has started turning to drugs or alcohol, it is time to call in the professionals. Our Palm Beach County behavioral health care facility has experienced staff members who are trained to handle these issues and develop treatment plans that can help your loved one.
Be There During Treatment
If your loved one has decided to get professional help, this is when they need you the most. They may be feeling scared or anxious. If they are battling a substance abuse problem as well, they may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms that can be overwhelming. Be present. When you can, go to appointments with them, help them get their medications, and be there for the doctor’s explanations.
Even if they are receiving residential mental health treatment with limited contact with the outside world, you can reach out to the facility about what you can do to help in the future as they transition to lower levels of care or reenter the real world.
Get Help for Yourself
While your main concern may be your loved one’s mental health, you need to also take care of yourself. Knowing how to help someone having a mental breakdown can be draining and take a toll on your mental health. When you are mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted, you are not able to do your loved one much good.
It is important to take time to take care of yourself so that you can continue to put your best foot forward for your loved one. Join a support group, see a psychologist, or get mental health treatment for yourself if necessary.
Practice Good Habits Together
Managing your mental health often means creating a healthy routine. Especially if your loved one went through an intense treatment program, they might have gotten into a good routine while they were there. When treatment is over, it is easy for them to get lazy or fall back into bad habits, but this can be a slippery slope.
To help prevent this from happening, do their healthy routine with them. Exercise regularly together, remind each other to set time aside for mindfulness, keep each other honest about your diets, and stop drinking or doing drugs that could lead to setbacks.
Manage Your Expectations
Recovery is a long and bumpy road, not a straight shot to the top. There may be some trial and error when it comes to medication, as well as some unforeseen hiccups that your loved one needs to work through. It is important to be realistic about their recovery. They will likely not eliminate all of their symptoms, and if they are battling a substance abuse problem as well, relapse is common. If your loved one stumbles along the way or relapses, just remember to be there to help pick them back up.
At our Lake Worth drug rehab, we help patients manage their mental health disorders and overcome substance abuse problems. Because we understand the importance of a strong support system, our family therapy also teaches loved ones of patients things such as how to help someone having a mental breakdown.