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Whenever anyone goes through a challenging time, it helps to have family support. But the need is even greater when it involves mental health. Having people around provides numerous benefits that just aren’t available otherwise.

Family is essential because it is always there. The ability to fall back on others can help during mental health challenges and isn’t reliant on a particular job situation, income, or any other factors that can sometimes hamper the road to recovery.

Let’s take a look at some of the methods and tools family members can use, whether that’s just popping in occasionally and seeing how a person is, or providing them with around-the-clock help during challenging times.


Providing A Sense Of Belonging

Providing a sense of belonging is one of the chief benefits of family support during mental health recovery. Family members can make the suffering individual feel safe and secure. Supportive families are a safe space for many individuals with mental health issues. Being around people assists with challenges and other problems, preventing people from feeling lonely.

It also provides a sense of community. The individual doesn’t feel like they are going through their problems alone. Instead, it is more of a team effort and everyone can play a part.

Family doesn’t necessarily have to be biological relations (though that helps). It can also include other close people. However, it is usually better to have longstanding ties outside of professional settings. These ensure those you’re turning to for support are on your side.


Helping With Staying On Track

Families can also be helpful for people living with mental health issues and recovering from the worst of their symptoms when it comes to staying on track. Providing guidance and guardrails can be an excellent way for individuals to avoid falling back into negative habits or behaviors.

This type of support is particularly valuable for individuals just out of rehab. Having people around them who can steer them in the right direction as outpatients or discharged patients is extremely beneficial.

For example, family members can provide on-the-spot support, reducing the temptation to return to addictive substances for relief. Close relations can also help to keep individuals on the straight and narrow, even when it feels tough, providing them with what they need while helping them avoid falling into the wrong crowd.

Ultimately, family is useful for ensuring the individual meets their recovery goals. Having extra pairs of hands around makes it more straightforward to move towards positive outcomes and makes it more likely that life will get back on track.


Reducing Social Stigma

Having family around to support with mental health recovery may also slash social stigma. Parents, children, brothers, and sisters can work together to ensure the health and vitality of the individual.

Social stigma is still associated with some mental health conditions and this can make it more challenging for patients to seek assistance. Often, they know they need help, but don’t feel comfortable going to get it.

That’s why families are often the best options. They can work with themselves (and with professionals) to help the individual without patients worrying about who might find out about their state of mind or judge them.


Understanding The Mental Health Condition

Another way families can support mental health recovery is to understand the condition the patient is dealing with. Getting to grips with its primary symptoms can help individuals feel more understood, loved, and cherished.

Families can work toward this by reading online literature or studying what medical manuals say. Gaining a clearer comprehension can help inform parents and siblings how to react in specific situations, and how the condition is likely to play out. For example, depression isn’t just about feeling “blue.” It also involves other symptoms, like inability to feel pleasure or get out of bed.

Likewise, schizophrenia can lead a person to appear to behave and act differently from one moment to the next. These changes can be sudden but are also expected as part of the condition. Addiction is another condition families need to understand. It can make people behave compulsively and in ways that work against their interests.

Getting a grip on mental health conditions can change the situation tremendously. Family members feel more understood and better able to reach out to cope with their symptoms.


Group Therapy

In some cases, the family can also help in the form of group therapy. Working with individuals as a team can improve outcomes more than individual counseling. Group therapy, for example, can get to the bottom of psychological issues that may be preventing families from living together functionally. Therapists can get to the root of problems, identify them, and then work to resolve them.

Group therapy is also helpful for carers struggling to deal with a relative’s mental health issues. It can provide insights, support, and guidance to establish more robust and reliable emotions during challenging times. Addiction treatment centers often use group therapy to ensure the family surrounding the patient is also in a healthy and fit state. Dysfunctional families are one of the reasons many people start using alcohol and other drugs in the first place.


Helping With Daily Living

Sometimes it can be challenging for patients to live their lives normally when they have an acute mental health issue. Even basic things, like going to work or tidying up can become challenging. That’s where family support during recovery can be so valuable. It isn’t just emotional, but practical as well.

For example, family members can help with:

  • Making the beds and ensuring the bedroom is clean and tidy
  • Doing the dishes or putting dirty kitchenware in the dishwasher for a quick blast
  • Assisting with medications and ensuring patients get all the pills they need
  • Providing transportation outside of the house
  • Offering supervision in cases where patients might be a harm to themselves
  • Preparing healthy meals that will make individuals more energized

Of course, how family members assist with daily living is entirely up to them. Even small amounts of help are usually everything needed to improve individuals’ quality of life significantly.


Doing Stuff Together

Another approach families can take to support mental health recovery is to do things together. The more group activities they can organize, the more complete the patients’ lives will feel.

Often, the main supporting role families can play isn’t emotional but distracting. Engaging with life helps to draw patients out of their minds and into the real world so they can explore more of the beauty and wonder around them. Often, a simple diversion can provide relief and help them get back to their best selves. Good examples of things to do together could include:

  • Going for long walks in nature
  • Playing games together
  • Going to visit friends

While these activities might sound basic, they can help individuals return to a sense of normalcy. Going to a restaurant from the past or enjoying a group activity the family loves can all help.


Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is also a critical tool families can use to support mental health recovery. Ring-fencing possibilities allow individuals to focus more on what is more likely to help them recover than become distracted.

For example, supervising patients while out of the house is one strategy families can use, particularly if they have a problem with addiction. Ensuring they only engage in wholesome activities sets boundaries and puts much-needed limits on their freedom.


Additional Factors To Bear In Mind

While family support can help with mental health recovery, that doesn’t necessarily mean it always does. Therefore, people with mental health conditions should be careful.

In some situations, toxic families can be the cause of mental health problems in the first place. Spending time with parents, siblings, or children during a vulnerable time might not be the best idea. Furthermore, families aren’t necessarily the only option (which is helpful if you don’t have anyone to turn to). Support is also available through other channels.

Finally, families can sometimes get the wrong idea about mental health conditions, believing individuals living with them are mean, lazy, or out of control. Sometimes, they never come to understand a health problem, leaving the patient feeling alone and exasperated.


So, what have we learned? Essentially, we discovered that family support can assist with mental health recovery. Having loved ones around helps to make the recovery process smoother on emotional and practical levels. Patients can get a sympathetic ear and help around the home.

However, it’s not always guaranteed to be successful. While most families are close and have the right intentions, some aren’t and don’t. Therefore, individuals with mental health conditions need to be careful. Getting it wrong could cost lives.

Families themselves should also consider how to serve themselves. Prioritizing self-care is essential to provide individuals with mental health issues a sound service without feeling burnout. It can also help make the support something that lasts long-term and helps the individual patient make it all the way back to their former selves.

This article is a partnered post that contains affiliate links.



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