Although the stigma of being diagnosed with a mental illness is slowly changing, you may be in denial, may be unwilling to share the news, or may be uncertain how to support a loved one when he is diagnosed with a mental illness. Some basic strategies and a willingness to reach out for help will assist you in providing the right support.

Learn about the diagnosis. Your research will help you know what to expect; this will put you in a better position to deal with it. Frequently, you may deal with moodiness, anxiety or behavioral issues that your loved one may exhibit privately and publicly. You may feel embarrassed by the behavior, but keep in mind that it may bother your diagnosed family member too.

In many instances, you will feel like your life is becoming consumed with handling your loved one’s mental illness. In addition, sometimes a mental illness often affects the physical well-being of your loved one and the mental and physical changes can take their toll on family members who are trying to assist. It is crucial to remain patient and calm. Sometimes this may require the opportunity to get a break. Whether you schedule a short vacation or hire help for a few hours, scheduling time for yourself can restore your patience. Your break can help you refocus and provide enhanced support to your sick family member.

Seek assistance in dealing with your family member’s illness. You may choose to confide in friends or extended family, or you may find a support group of other family members with similar issues. Often a therapist can provide strategies for coping with a family member’s mental illness.

If you are feeling stress from supporting a family member who is suffering from a mental illness, you and your loved one may benefit from therapy. Jessica Getson is a licensed counselor In the Philadelphia suburbs. Whether you are a family member seeking the best way to cope with a loved one’s mental health diagnosis or someone suffering from a mental illness, contact Jessica Getson to learn successful strategies that will help you effectively handle the impact of a mental illness.