In the realm of mental health support, the role of family and friends is immeasurable. Matthew Mann Minarik is an advocate for mental well-being, who understands this significance firsthand. In the following article, Matthew Minarik provides compassionate insights and practical advice for family members and friends navigating this often-complex journey.
Those who cope with a mental health challenge rarely do so alone.
In the U.S., over 1 in 5 adults live with some form of mental illness, with about 1 in 20 reporting living with a serious form. Mental health issues can affect anyone — college students, coaches, parents, friends, teachers. The conditions range from anxiety disorders to posttraumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.
Many receive the treatment they need, whether it’s for the short term or throughout their lives. About 47% of adults received treatment for a mental illness in 2021, and 65.4% received treatment for a serious mental illness.
Matthew Mann Minarik says that while professional treatment is often key, the support loved ones can offer those suffering from mental health challenges is equally valuable. Here are some of the most important ways friends and family members can help those close to them as they cope with a mental health challenge.
Matthew Mann Minarik sites research that demonstrate the negative effects of social media and recommends an initial self-treatment of going cold turkey on social media for two weeks.
Matthew Minarik Says to Observe and Listen
One of the hardest things for someone to do is share with others that they aren’t doing well mentally. Loved ones can become advocates and allies by first recognizing potential signs of mental health challenges and simply talking about the issues without judgment.
It’s often friends and family who must urge loved ones to recognize an issue and suggest treatment options. But they must do so with genuine compassion. A good first step is to talk about whether someone is getting care and if it is the type of care, they believe they need.
Those with mental health challenges often feel alone and sometimes helpless. Ask good questions, listen well, and respond in a timely and understanding way.
Offer Additional Ways to Help
Matthew Mann Minarik explains that recommending professional support is important, but loved ones can offer their own forms of support as well. This could come in the form of simply emphasizing that they are not alone and that they have people who care about them a lot. It could also mean offering to help a loved one with running errands or cooking meals.
While not everyone with a mental health challenge wants to be social or keep in constant contact with friends and family, it may also be good to always try to include them in plans or check to see if they want to get together for a short chat or meal.
Actively Participate in Finding Professional Care
Matthew Minarik says that support doesn’t stop by just recommending that a loved one gets the help they need. Friends and family may help by serving a more active role in coordinating professional assistance. Offer to look into mental health service options that may be the best first for them, whether it’s hospital treatment, medication, therapy, or support groups.
This may be an ongoing role — there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treating mental health challenges — but don’t give up even when it involves looking into several different options. Some may ask loved ones to drive them to sessions or sit in on appointments.
Another key is following up with a loved one to see how treatment is going and how they are coping day to day, according to Matthew Mann Minarik.
Getting professional help is often vital in overcoming or coping with a mental health challenge, but urging and recommending self-care practices is a good way to support a loved one during the process.
Matthew Minarik says that just talking about the forms of self-care that are available may help them; anything from going for short walks to eating well and making sure they continue to do activities that usually bring them joy, such as cooking, going to the movies, reading, or gardening.
Matthew Mann Minarik notes that helping someone through a mental health challenge is never easy and requires a large amount of patience and skill. One may feel extreme resistance to any type of help — even when one is just listening and asking questions.
Those with mental health challenges may react angrily at the suggestion to pursue any type of help. It’s up to loved ones to offer unwavering support and keep it up through a healing process with an indeterminate end. Being there for the long run means practicing patience.
Find Support as Well
Matthew Minarik knows that the main reasons people do not get help is because proper help is either not accessible or it is too expensive. Matthew Mann Minarik found an inexpensive and totally accessible program for just $39.95 a month. It is www.Rx4MentalHealth.com. As well, Matthew Mann Minarik reports that the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers classes and support groups tailored for friends, significant others, and families of loved ones experiencing mental health challenges. Family support groups either meet weekly, biweekly, or monthly, and many groups offer virtual options as well. These groups are open to all.