Have you heard about the importance of supporting family and friends who live with a mental illness? It’s so important, in fact, that our nations largest non-profit mental health organizations have dedicated space on their websites specific to the topic of support. If you go the the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) homepage or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) homepage, you will see the word “support.” If you look further, you will find helpful resources pertaining to support for the individual living with mental illness and for his or her family and friends. You will see that a person living with mental illness is actually encouraged to connect with others. And you don’t have to be an immediate family member to show your support. The more support an individual has from loved ones and friends the better.
So what can you do to show your support? I’ve noted below 5 simple ways that you can support a loved one:
- Educate yourself. The American Psychological Association (APA) provides helpful, credible information pertaining to a variety of mental illnesses. Click here to access All Psychology Topics.
- Learn how to communicate with your loved one. The DBSA provides a guide that I encourage you to read. Click here to access What Helps and What Hurts.
- Don’t enable your loved one to do something that he or she can do within reason. Karen Khaleghi Ph.D. wrote a helpful article that you can access on Psychology Today, and it is titled “Are you Empowering or Enabling?“
- Create and offer a positive environment.
- Despite the challenging days, remember that there is sunshine after the rain. There is hope for a better tomorrow. Feel hopeful, exude hopefulness, and share this with your loved one.
Of course there are many more ways to support a loved one, but these are my top 5! With these 5 ideas in mind, I’m curious, have you actually seen and heard visible proof that supporting your family and friends is beneficial? I have proof that all 5 of these methods work. How? Keep reading.
I’d like to invite you to watch my daughter Kim King’s music video. In the video you will hear Kim sing Christina Aguilera’s song “Hurt,” and you will see, in her own words, how life has been unfolding for her and what her future goals are. During the last few minutes of the video, you will hear her sing Alanis Morissette’s song “Mary Jane.” I promise you that the next 9 minutes and 51 seconds you spend watching the video will be worth it. I encourage you to allow yourself to listen without expectations. This video, my friends, is proof that support matters.
Thank you for watching and supporting Kim. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for your support. We’d love to hear from you as well. Do you have ideas regarding how to support a loved one that have worked for you?