Support Module

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It can be so hard to watch your loved one go through the depths of mental illness. It’s even worse when it seems like everything you do to try and help is met with anger, frustration or withdrawal. It’s enough to make you want to give up sometimes.

But here’s the thing – don’t give up. Those of us with mental illness really, really need your love even if it doesn’t show. Having good, understanding family support can dramatically affect the quality of life for a depressed person while they’re struggling just as it can for those going through chronic physical illness.

Below are the Soul Balm Approved Links to help your loved one navigate their mental illness while still taking care of yourself.

Education:

  1. Loving Someone who has Depression – In this video, therapist Julia Kristina explains the Do’s and Don’ts of helping your loved one through depression and other mental illness – spoiler alert it’s not what you’d first think! Watch Part 2 for even more great advice.
  2. What to Say When Someone is Depressed – If you want to engage a depressed person but are not sure how, you can always rely on this list of helpful things to say from http://www.verywellmind.com.
  3. Brene Brown on Empathy – The Queen of Empathy herself, Brene Brown, tells us how to distinguish between helpful empathy and toxic sympathy in this clever animation.

Treatment:

  1. Taking Care of You – It’s not at all uncommon to find yourself depressed while taking care of someone with mental illness – it’s absolutely draining. This awesome article helps identify and change stressors for yourself while still providing a high level of care for your loved one.
  2. Helping Your Loved One Seek Treatment – The bad news, you can never force someone over 18 to seek treatment. The good news, there are so so so many other things you can do instead. This article does a great job of laying out the various options for when you feel like your loved one really needs some professional help.
  3. Psychoeducate Yourself – Understanding how your loved one’s disorder is affecting them can make a HUGE difference in that person’s recovery. This knowledge helps you advocate for the best treatments, helps you empathize with your loved one and empowers you all at the same time.

Community Care:

  1. Organizations that Support Families – There are a lot of great organizations out there to support the supporters – some of the best include the Family Caregiver Alliance and the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). Both organizations provide education for caregivers as well as lectures, support groups, newsletters, videos, and an endless stream of content to help you support yourself and your loved one!
  2. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – DBSA is near and dear to my heart and for good reason! Anyone is invited to their nationwide support groups, especially caregivers who are struggling to understand their loved one’s experience. The group provides judgement-free peer support, social interaction, and local resources.
  3. Even More Organizations that Support Caregivers! A comprehensive list of the 10 most helpful caregiver associations in the US!

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