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Here's How You Can Best Support Your Loved One's Mental Health Battle

Watching your loved one battle a mental illness like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be disheartening and overwhelming. 

But with the right tools and resources, you can be better prepared to provide the type of support your friend or family member needs to live a healthy, happy life.

Fighting against mental illness as a team

At New Dawn TMS Psychiatry, board-certified psychiatrist Amr Beltagui, MD offers comprehensive care to ease the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders that your loved ones might be suffering from.

And Dr. Beltagui understands that the struggle of mental illness not only impacts those who suffer from the condition, but also the people who love them. 

Here are some of his recommendations for how you can help support their mental health battle while still protecting yourself.

Get educated about mental illness

To truly understand what your friend or family member is facing, take the time to get educated about the disorder. Study up on the condition itself, the signs and symptoms, and the treatments available.

There are a number of mental health conditions that can affect the people you love — even several at the same time — so it’s important to understand the similarities and differences between various disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.

While your family member or friend may not be ready to discuss how they feel, your research will give you insight into what’s happening so you know what to expect.

Set realistic expectations

Everyone approaches the treatment of an illness at their own pace. When your loved one is open to getting treatment for their mental health issue, it might take time for them to begin the process.

Sometimes just knowing where to start or getting to appointments can be overwhelming. Practice patience and kindness. Give them time to learn the coping skills they need to start their journey to recovery. 

Offer to take them to therapy appointments and be willing to listen — rather than talk — if and when your family member or friend is ready to discuss their issues.

Get involved in treatment

As an experienced psychiatrist, Dr. Beltagui customizes plans that focus on both immediate and long-term treatment. He may recommend family sessions based on patient need.

If you have the opportunity to be on the front lines of the support team, take advantage of it. By participating in therapy and other treatments, you learn more about your loved one’s battle, which makes you better prepared to help them on their journey.

Be a cheerleader

Taking the steps necessary to deal with mental illness requires strength and courage. Regardless of how your loved one’s actions have negatively affected your life, take time out to appreciate their bravery for getting help.

As there is so much stigma associated with mental illness, people who are struggling often shy away from seeking help because of embarrassment or shame. Be a cheerleader for your family member or friend by acknowledging their courage and supporting their efforts.

Prioritize your own self-care

In order to be a support system for your loved one, you need to also practice and prioritize self-care. Dr. Beltagui offers psychotherapy sessions and other resources where you can learn coping skills, discuss your feelings, and think through your thoughts in a judgement-free zone.

By protecting your own welfare and mental health, you’ll be strong enough for someone you love to lean on.

If you or someone you love is struggling under the weight of a mental illness, contact Dr. Beltagui at New Dawn TMS Psychiatry by calling 909-217-7785 or requesting an appointment online to get the help you deserve.

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