Mental health awareness has seen a dramatic increase due to recent world events over the last year. The bittersweet reality has manifest itself through words like depression and anxiety, becoming a typical response when asking loved ones how they are doing. Enhancing our ability to identify mental health warning signs for ourselves and our loved ones will help us gain a better overall understanding of what mental health means.
Family Members and Parents
Many health conditions, including mental illness, can run in families and are known as heredity. Often people with mental illness can go undiagnosed for their whole life. Due to this, individuals may not know that their parents or relatives may have dealt with the same or similar mental illnesses. Parents with mental illness often exhibit behaviors including; neglecting self-care while taking care of children, lacking healthy boundaries, and having extreme mood swings. Common mental illnesses that can pass from parents are depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Supporting a family member or parent with perceived or confirmed mental illness could be talking through what seems to cause them stress and encouraging them to seek mental health resources such as counseling.
It can be devastating for parents to realize that their child is struggling with mental illness. Inappropriate behavior such as consistently acting out or prolonged anti-social tendencies could be early indicators. Mental health experts have found that nearly 50% of mental illness begins by the age of 14. For adult-onset mental illness, 75% of people start exhibiting symptoms around age 24. It is also important to note that children with autism spectrum disorder can have comorbidity with mental illnesses or exhibit symptoms that mimic mental illness. Supporting a child with perceived or confirmed mental illness could be encouraging them to build healthy communication techniques and providing them with child-focused mental health resources.
Your Significant Other
When choosing to build a romantic relationship, mental health is not a common subject to discuss during the honeymoon phase. However, its effects can manifest in many forms, including lack of intimacy, lack of consistency, and emotional upheaval. Without the distractions of pre-covid life, many couples sheltering in place together found that the pandemic pressures exacerbated underlying mental illness symptoms. Supporting a significant other with perceived or confirmed mental illness could be having daily or weekly check-ins on how they feel about their life and encouraging mental health support resources.
Although friendships evolve or dissolve as we grow older, these relationships may prematurely end due to mental health-related issues. One major contributing factor is a lack of understanding. A friend with mental illness may be undiagnosed or uncomfortable disclosing that they have a mental illness with their friends. For a friend without mental illness, common symptoms can appear as a lack of effort in maintaining the friendship. Supporting a friend with perceived or confirmed mental illness could be ensuring them that you are a safe space for them to share their experiences. Another supportive strategy would be sharing how much you value your friendship with them.
Caring for loved ones with mental illness can be challenging. Supporting them through their mental health journey requires patience, love, and the right tools. Rivers of Hope Counseling has a team of diverse therapists who are devoted to providing personalized support.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.|Ephesians 4:32
Do you need hope for better days ahead? Contact an ROH therapist today!