Supporting a Loved One Through Mental Health Treatment 7 Tips for Families

Supporting a Loved One Through Mental Health Treatment: 7 Tips for Families


Life can feel like a rollercoaster—there are ups, downs, twists, and turns. Sometimes, it even makes you want to scream or cry. It’s completely understandable! However, if feelings of isolation, anxiety, or sadness persist, it may indicate a mental health concern that requires medical attention and family support.

As per a report by the World Health Organization, about 970 million people globally were dealing with mental health issues back in 2019. That’s equivalent to one in every eight people—an alarming statistic that accentuates the incredibly common yet still stigmatized reality of mental illness.

If your loved one is struggling with mental disorders, make sure they feel they’re not alone. While evidence-based treatments and therapeutic interventions exist, your support as a family can make all the difference. Here are ways you can positively contribute to your loved one’s recovery journey:

Understand their diagnosis and treatment plan

As previously mentioned, mental disorders need medical care. Psychiatrists, counselors, and therapists work with their clients to provide comprehensive assessments and diagnoses.

While accompanying your loved one to visit a mental health professional, take the opportunity to pose questions that help clear up any uncertainties or misconceptions you may have regarding their conditions. What are the expected outcomes, timelines, and potential challenges associated with the recommended treatments? This knowledge will help you grasp what they’re going through and how to best assist them.

Connect them with support groups and resources

Connecting your loved one with mental health support groups and resources can provide them with community, empowerment, and vital tools on their recovery journey. This allows a person to openly share their struggles with peers facing similar battles, whether that’s in-person or online forums.

Some facilities accommodate in-stay services to admit your loved one for a few days. This way, they can actively participate in various therapeutic programs, counseling sessions, and structured activities. For further information on available resources, you can visit or explore online other reputable centers that specialize in such types of services.

Provide emotional support through difficult days

Provide emotional support through difficult days to improve mental health

Mental health disorders often have cycles where symptoms fluctuate on a day-to-day basis. There are difficult periods in the treatment journey that may occur unexpectedly.

On bad days, when your loved one seems particularly sad, anxious, irritable, or withdrawn, provide extra doses of emotional support as much as needed. Simple gestures like listening without judgment, offering gentle reassurance, and giving compassionate advice are deeply helpful in alleviating feelings of loneliness and anguish. 

Help with medication and doctor appointment

In one study, researchers found that individuals dealing with depression may encounter short-term memory loss. Common symptoms include confusion, forgetfulness, and difficulty retaining information.

These memory lapses, such as forgetting doctor appointments or prescribed medications, often disrupt daily routines and hinder treatment progress. You can provide support by gently reminding your loved ones of important schedules and tasks. You can create daily checklists and compartmentalize drugs by day and time can remove confusion around what pills need to be taken and when.

Most importantly, try to have patience—it’s a symptom of their illness, not a personal shortcoming.

Create a low-stress home environment

A peaceful and fresh environment can be healing for someone grappling with a mental health illness. If you want to help your loved one, aim to reduce chaos and friction in your home wherever possible. Maintain a clutter-free, low-noise environment and engage in gentle, uplifting conversations.

You may also want to incorporate soft lighting and calming scents to achieve a serene ambiance. Another helpful idea is to play mellow music, as scientific studies indicate that certain melodies and harmonies can ease depressive thoughts and anxiety. According to the same research, music has more to offer, including enhancing heart rate, sharpening motor skills, increasing brain activation, and giving the immune system a little boost.

Create a playlist together of songs that evoke warmth—lullabies from childhood, gentle acoustic tunes, soothing nature sounds. These feel like nostalgia.

Encourage healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle (including eating nutritious food, staying active, and getting enough sleep) can be a struggle for someone dealing with a mental illness. So, rather than expecting big changes to your loved one right away, why not kick things off with some small but mighty steps towards self-care?

For example, taking a 10-minute walk together to stretch those legs and have a good old chat. Or how about trying some simple yoga at home to promote self-soothing? And don’t forget about the power of self-care! Encourage them to carve out some ‘me time’ for activities they love, whether it’s painting, gardening, or binge-watching their favorite show. 

Time and time again, it’s all about finding ways to make fitness a total blast, one that gets all the happy hormones working, not a dreaded chore.

Set compassionate boundaries

When supporting a loved one through mental health treatment, ensuring you maintain healthy personal boundaries is essential for your self-care and the health of the caregiving relationship. This allows realistic expectations and both people’s needs to be met. For example, set aside time for your hobbies, friendships, and activities without guilt. Let your person know you have other commitments that may limit your availability but are still supporting them in ways that work for both of you.

If caregiving tasks like driving to frequent appointments during work hours become taxing, open an honest, caring dialogue to solve alternate arrangements. Identify what you can reasonably sustain long-term versus where your boundaries lie. 

Let professionals handle what you and your family shouldn’t. And know that by modeling self-care, you teach your loved one to honor their own needs and limits, too, while recovering.


When a person we care about undertakes the journey of mental health treatment, one of the most valuable things we can do is walk beside them each step of the way. While professionals handle medical care, our role as advocates and companions can profoundly impact wellness and recovery. The road to mental health can be long, but your willingness to help and your kindness means more than you know.

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