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HomeHealthHow to Support Someone with a Mental Illness: 5 Helpful Strategies

How to Support Someone with a Mental Illness: 5 Helpful Strategies


Are you looking for better ways to support your friend, family member, or a loved one struggling with mental illness? When it comes to caring for someone with a mental illness, it can often feel overwhelming. You might not know where to start in terms of understanding the struggles that come along with different mental health conditions and how you can best help them. Don’t worry – we’re here to help! In this blog post, we will provide helpful tips on how you can offer comprehensive and practical support for those living with a mental illness. From giving unconditional love and compassion and simply being there for them during their journey, we can learn how important it is to support someone going through a challenging time.

What support can I offer?

1. Educate yourself: 

As a friend or a loved one of someone with a mental illness, one of the most crucial steps in supporting someone with a mental illness is to educate yourself on their specific condition. Mental illnesses vary greatly and have unique symptoms, triggers, and treatment methods. Researching reputable sources, such as recognized medical institutions or government websites, can provide a solid understanding of how to approach and communicate with someone affected by a given disorder. Understanding the signs and symptoms can help you empathize with your loved one while identifying when they need additional support or professional care. Additionally, reading personal stories and familiarizing oneself with common misconceptions surrounding mental health can aid in creating an informed and compassionate atmosphere for those struggling. Overall, educating oneself about mental illness is a foundational step toward supporting individuals impacted by these conditions empathetically and effectively.

2. Listen Without Judgement

When supporting someone with a mental illness, one of the most vital skills to possess is the ability to listen without judgment. We must create a safe and non-judgmental space for our loved ones to express themselves without feeling invalidated or brushed aside. Listening attentively, patiently, and empathetically can go a long way in making them feel understood, validated, and supported. We must try not to interrupt or impose our perspectives onto their experiences but instead actively listen and ask reflective questions that will enable us to understand their perspective better. Active listening is invaluable for helping individuals work through mental issues while receiving emotional support. By acknowledging how they feel and demonstrating compassion through our actions, we can assure those struggling with mental health issues or conditions that they’re not alone when experiencing emotions or problems like this.

3. Please encourage them to seek help from Licensed Therapist or Psychiatrist.

As a carer, it is essential to encourage them to seek help from a licensed therapist. While supportive friends and family can provide comfort and understanding, only licensed therapists are trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Encouraging your loved one to seek professional help shows that you acknowledge the complexity of their condition and believe in their ability to get better. Additionally, research has shown that therapy can effectively treat mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. By suggesting therapy as an option for treatment, you are providing your loved one personalized care that will enable them to work toward coping mechanisms and strategies for future mental wellness.

4. Offer Practical Support

One effective way to support someone with a mental illness is to offer practical support. This can include helping them with daily tasks such as cleaning, grocery shopping, or running errands. Listening to their needs and collaborating on the most helpful support type is essential. Furthermore, it is crucial to encourage self-care activities such as exercise, healthy eating, and proper sleep hygiene. Emotional support is also essential by providing a safe space for the person to express their feelings and offering validating responses. Promoting therapy or medication management can also be helpful, but it should not be forced upon the individual. By offering these types of practical and emotional help and support in a non-judgmental and compassionate manner, we can assist individuals with mental illness to lead fulfilling lives while managing their condition effectively.

5. Take care of your mental health.

Being a carer for someone with a mental illness can be emotionally and physically demanding. Sometimes the burden can become too much. To ensure you avoid burnout, it is vital to prioritize and take care of your mental health. This involves acknowledging the potential impact of caring for someone with a mental illness on your life and emotional well-being. Maintaining hobbies and interests that you enjoy may be helpful, as seeking support from friends or family members or even considering speaking with a therapist or counselor to help manage your emotions. By prioritizing self-care, you will be better equipped to support someone experiencing a mental illness without compromising your well-being. Remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and taking care of yourself is crucial to support others effectively.

If you know someone struggling with a mental illness, knowing how to support them can be difficult. However, several helpful strategies can make a significant impact on their well-being. In addition to encouraging them to seek professional support from a licensed psychologist in Brisbane, it’s essential to actively listen without judgment, provide reassurance and validation, and offer practical assistance when needed. Making time for enjoyable activities, including exercise, can also play a crucial role in promoting positive mental health. With the right approach, you can be a powerful source of support for someone with a mental illness.

educating oneself about mental illness


1. What common signs and symptoms of mental illness to look out for in loved ones?

As a mental health professional, educating others on common mental health problems and signs and symptoms of mental illness to look out for in loved ones is vital. These may include significant changes in mood, behaviour, or thinking patterns that are out of character for the individual. For example, individuals who are experiencing depression may exhibit symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and increased fatigue or lethargy. People with anxiety disorders may have persistent worries or fears that interfere with daily activities and relationships. Those with psychotic disorders may experience delusions or hallucinations that impact their perception of reality. It is essential to note that mental illness can manifest differently for each individual, and seeking professional help can provide tailored support for managing symptoms.

2. How can I approach someone about their mental health when they may not want to talk about it?

Approaching someone about their mental health can be difficult. It is important to first acknowledge and respect the person’s autonomy and boundaries. One way to start the conversation is by expressing your concern for them and asking if they are okay or if there is anything you can do to support them. It is crucial to avoid being judgmental, pushy, or dismissive of their feelings. You may also want to share your experiences with mental health or explain any facts that could help reduce the stigma around mental health problem seeking help. If the person remains resistant, it is important not to pressure them into opening up but instead offer alternative support, such as providing resources or encouraging them to seek professional help. Remember that approaching someone about their mental health requires patience, empathy, and a willingness to listen with an open mind.

3. Are there any specific phrases or words I should avoid when speaking with someone with a mental illness?

When speaking with someone who has a mental health condition, it is important to use language that is respectful and avoids stigmatizing them. This means avoiding phrases or terms perpetuating negative stereotypes or minimising their experiences. Avoid using words like “crazy” or “insane”, as they can be hurtful and dismissive. Instead, use person-first language such as “person living with depression” rather than “a depressed person”. Also, avoid diagnostic labels as they may increase stigma and limit the individual’s identity beyond their condition. Using inclusive language shows respect for diversity; thus, referring to an individual’s mental health diagnosis more non-judgementally can help create a safe space for better communication and compassion while reducing prejudices towards people with mental illness.


In conclusion, taking the time to understand and support your loved ones when they’re struggling with a mental illness is one of the most powerful things you can do. It takes courage, patience, and self-awareness to provide meaningful support. Fortunately, many strategies can help your loved ones feel safe and understood. Make sure to take breaks when needed; practice active listening; offer tangible help like groceries or transportation; provide access to professional mental health resources; check in regularly, and don’t be afraid to set boundaries if needed. These steps are just a few of the approaches you can use to provide emotional support for someone dealing with a mental illness, but they lay an essential foundation for helping your loved one feel cared for and protected. Remember, with the proper practical knowledge and an honest heart, your ability to provide meaningful support will go a long way.


Elizabeth is a renowned leader in Health and Mental Wellness topics. Her work has appeared on more than a dozen influential sites and blogs. Her articles provide valuable information and an entertaining read that her readers enjoy. More about her work on –

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