Often times it feels difficult to comfort someone with mental illness the way that they need or to understand exactly what they need. People with mental illness frequently withdraw from society due to feeling judged. This social withdrawal is emotionally very costly and can make them feel worse.
Studies show that as many as two-thirds of people struggling with a mental illness feel lonely most of the time. They fear rejection from others and feel overwhelmed by the thought of attempting to form new relationships. Research shows that this loneliness and fear create stress and can take a toll on the person’s health by affecting their ability to learn, memory function, and blood pressure. It can also trigger other mental health conditions such as depression and alcoholism.
There are steps you can take to help your loved one. Start by learning about their mental illness and how to talk about it with your friend or family member. But as you reach out, don’t forget to look after your own emotional health. Thinking about your own needs is not an act of selfishness, it’s a necessity. Your emotional strength will allow you to provide the ongoing support your depressed friend or family member needs.
Reach out to someone you love today or even a stranger that seems to be struggling. Your presence can make all the difference!