Caring for anyone with a mental health problem is challenging. It can be even more difficult when it’s someone close to you. It’s upsetting to see them worrying, struggling or in pain, and they may not want to accept your help.
You need to take time to look after yourself as well, because caring for someone is physically and mentally exhausting. You may feel stressed with the added pressure, and anxious about their wellbeing. Don’t let yourself become isolated, depressed or over-tired – it’s OK to ask for help if you need it too.
One of the first things you’ll need to do to help someone with a mental health problem is to find out everything you can about what they are going through.
You may never be able to fully understand their feelings and struggles without experiencing the illness yourself, but if you have learnt as much as possible, you’ll know how they might act or react, and what you can do to prevent or ease their symptoms. You’ll be able to put a plan in place together, and show that you care.
As well as offering physical support – such as helping around the house if someone is feeling down or lacking energy – it’s also very important to be there emotionally for your close friend or family member. Don’t judge or be critical, just accept their condition, and listen to what they want to say.
Often, caring is simply about just being with your loved one, showing you want to help with what they are going through, and that they don’t have to be alone.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, are regularly angry and frustrated, or starting to feel like you cannot cope yourself, you could be putting too much of a strain on your own mental health. Stress, anxiety and depression is harmful to both you and your family.
There is lots of help for carers, and lots of people you can talk to.
Available help in your area
Whatever kind of mental health problem you might be facing, there is always someone you can talk to. Speak to your GP, call Salford’s Self-Help Services on 0161 226 3871 or find a session below