Support a loved one

What can I do to support a loved one?

  • If your loved one is in crisis or threatening suicide, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.
  • Help your loved one to find local health care professionals and to set up and keep appointments.
  • Become familiar with the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of the illness, as well as side- effects of treatments and medications.
  • Listen to your loved one who may be scared or confused.
  • Encourage your loved one to become knowledgeable about his disease and to be an active participant in his treatment plan.
  • Be aware that it may take time to find the right medications and dosage. Suggest that any concerns and problems related to medication be addressed with your loved one’s health care provider immediately.
  • Be aware that medications alone are not enough for recovery from mental illness. It is important for your loved one to have social support and a feeling of productivity.
  • Offer to accompany your loved one on visits to his health care providers, but always respect privacy.

What can I do to foster understanding of behavioral health needs?

  • Avoid stigmatizing labels like “crazy” or “wacko.” Instead of identifying a person by his disease, as in “He is a schizophrenic,” recognize his humanity as in “He is a person with schizophrenia.”
  • Learn about mental illness and addiction treatments and share facts with others.
  • Treat all people with dignity and respect, including those with mental illness and addiction.
  • Do not discriminate in the areas of housing, employment or education.