It can be difficult to be apart from family and loved ones while in inpatient care, but there are ways to support our loved ones while in treatment.
What Can I Do to Help?
This may be one of the most difficult times in their life and they may need support now more than ever. Simple things like knowing visitation hours, checking in, educating yourself, being empathetic and patient or bringing a comforting item to your loved one can make a huge difference in their day and in their treatment.
The Importance of Education and Understanding
Educating yourself about your loved one’s diagnosis can help you understand what symptoms you can expect and how you can encourage and support them based on what they are currently dealing with.
For example, if your loved one is dealing with a mood disorder like depression or anxiety it may help to bring them something that comforts them, like a favorite blanket, meditation book or calming art activity like adult coloring books.
But for example, if your loved one is dealing with a psychotic episode you may want to take a different approach by listening to them and trying to understand. Focus on how your loved one is feeling rather than what they are experiencing and ask them what would help them during this time.
The Importance of Patience and Empathy
It is important to be patient and provide empathetic support to your loved one while they are receiving treatment. This may be one of the most difficult times in their lives, so showing empathy, trying to understand how they feel and being supportive can really help.
Along the same lines your loved one may also have feelings of anger, irritation, or seem distant. It is important to be patient with them as they are at a place in their life where they are struggling and may not be in their normal state of mind. They may not be happy they are in treatment but as a loved one encouraging them to get help and providing words of encouragement can help motivate them to stay on track with their treatment plan.
The Importance of Being Involved During and After Treatment
Communicate with the hospital and know your visitation options. Ask if you can come visit your loved one, the appropriate time for this and what you can and cannot bring them to help support and comfort them.
While visiting, make sure to listen to your loved one and how they are doing. Are they having a rough day? Are they motivated in treatment? Sometimes they may just need someone to listen to them.
Encouraging your loved one to follow their treatment plan and staying supportive upon discharge can be very helpful, too! Your loved one has been through a lot and treatment can sometimes feel draining.
Ask them how you can help once they are discharged. Can you help make a calendar of their appointment times, help care for their pets or help with transport to their after-care appointments. It is more likely your loved one will stay stable and follow-after care plans if they have a strong support system to take some of the stresses of life off their shoulders.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself, Too
Providing support for your loved one can sometimes take a toll on your own mental health. Be mindful of how you are feeling through this process and if you are struggling there are ways you can receive help and support as well. It is important to remember to best take care of others you must first take care of yourself.
Be mindful of how stress feels to you. Are you getting headaches, have low energy, upset stomach, tense muscles or insomnia? These may be signs that you have too much on your shoulders and to seek some help yourself.
NAMI has great family resources and support groups listed on their website at Support Groups | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Contact La Amistad Behavioral Health Services
La Amistad Behavioral Health Services provides behavioral health services in Winter Park, Florida, for teens and adults. La Amistad Behavioral Health Services also provides substance abuse treatment as well.
Located just a few miles from Orlando, Florida, La Amistad Behavioral Health Services has been providing mental health and substance abuse services for the local community for over 40 years.
Find more information about all of our services here.