When you find out that a loved one is sick, it's often difficult to focus your attention on anything else. However, it's important that you take care of your own needs. Try to eat healthy foods, get some exercise, and get enough sleep. Dedicating time to the things you enjoy will help you keep your stress levels under control.
You can better support your loved one if you take steps to maintain your own physical and mental health. Try to show patience and care. Avoid judging your expressed thoughts and actions. While our routines make us more efficient and improve our sense of safety and security, a small change of pace can increase a tedious schedule.
Change your running route, plan a road trip, take a walk in a different park, post some new photos, or try a new restaurant. See Rejuvenation 101 for more ideas. The person I care about is starting to have problems with family, friends, work, school, or other areas of their life. NAMI Family-to-Family is a free 12-session educational program for family and friends of people living with mental illness.
Support groups for family members, such as those available through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Mental Health America (MHA), can be valuable sources of information and mutual support. If your family member allows it, you can work with the professionals in your care team to support you and participate in treatment planning. It's important to address concerns early, as untreated symptoms of mental illness can worsen over time. People who receive the right care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full and rewarding lives.
The NAMI Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for family members, caregivers and loved ones of people living with mental illness. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness in communities across the United States. The specific causes are unknown, but there are several factors that can increase a person's risk of mental illness, such as family history, brain chemistry, and important life events, such as trauma or the death of a loved one. The person I care about doesn't have any worries right now, but would like to stay mentally healthy.
As you adapt to the emotions and stress of loving someone with a serious mental illness, it's important to identify sources of support. Try to encourage them to talk to a mental health professional or their primary care doctor where they are most willing to start. If you have a child (either a minor or an adult) with a serious mental illness, you may focus less attention on your other children. Just as it's important to maintain your own health while caring for a loved one with a mental illness, it's also important to preserve relationships with other family members, including your spouse or partner.
As you focus on helping a loved one, it's important to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. To find such a group, ask local hospitals or the community mental health agency, or contact the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
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