Strategies For Family Members Caring for Mental Illness Patients

For anyone who is experiencing the symptoms of mental illness, being diagnosed with the same can be extremely frightening as well as confusing. Not only this, the family and friends of the person going through this difficult time can also be negatively affected. A carer is a person who takes care of his or her relative or friend suffering from mental health problems and helps him / her recover from it, or at least learn to cope with it through developing strategies.Read on to find out more about how carers can take better care of their loved ones and help them lead as normal a life as possible.How Mental Illness Distresses A Person?Learning how the mental illness affects a person’s life, and understanding the trauma that the patient is going through is one of the best ways in which a carer can help a mental patient. Many times the behavior of mental patients is misunderstood. Many people think that those suffering from mental illnesses are weak and lazy and by trying hard they can get themself out of this condition.People suffering from mental illness often get confused about the irrational and illogical world inside them and usually fear about the next attack they might experience at any time. Due to this, they often experience bitterness and anger, which has a big impact on their lives as well as the lives of their loved ones. They’re also usually hypersensitive to criticism, including that of their carers as they think that no one understands what they are going through.How to care for a mental patient?• Have realistic expectations: Though it is normal for the loved ones to experience the loss of things that the patient was able to do before his or her mental illness, it is important to keep in mind that the patient must also be experiencing the same feeling of sadness and loss. It is important for carers to remember that recovery in case of mental patients does not mean being able to work just like before. Such high expectations can lead to both the patient and carers failing to see other smaller signs of recovery and progress.• Have a positive outlook: An extremely important way in which a carer can help a mental patient is by instilling positivity and hope in them regarding a brighter future. Most of the time people experiencing mental illness will fail to see a bright future ahead, but helping them gain a positive outlook can go a long way towards assisting their recovery. Try and find other people who have recovered to use as role models. There have been many leaders in the world who have suffered from depression and bi-polar, for example. I personally know a psychologist who suffered from schizophrenia, got themself well and went on to be a positive force in the mental illness field.• Communication: Conversing with a mental patient can often be challenging, especially if carers feel that the patient is not understanding or hearing what they are saying. Some ways to improve communication with the mental patient include maintaining eye contact with a person while talking, presenting a single thought at a time, speaking calmly, listening to others’ thoughts and feelings, and repeating what you are saying in different ways to convey the message. Then it pays to get confirmation that the messages was received by asking them to tell you what they heard you say. Just to ask, “Did you hear me?” is not enough as of course they will say, “Yes.”• Help them reduce stress: Encourage the patient to carry out stress reduction activities such as meditation, walking, adequate sleep and rest, and listening to music to reduce depression, anxiety, and lack of motivation.Carers do have a very difficult job looking after a person with a mental illness and the carer too needs to learn strategies to look after themself otherwise they will become ill and be unable to care for their loved one.