We know how difficult it is to watch a loved one living with a mental health disorder. It can be hard to know how to best provide the family support your loved one may need but is too embarrassed or afraid to ask for. If your teenager is battling a mental health disorder, don’t hesitate to contact us online today or call 509.870.3810 to learn how the family therapy program at Imagine Spokane can help.
The Importance of Family Support when Living with a Mental Health Disorder
Every teen is different as are their life experiences and situations. Whether they have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder or you are concerned about the way they are behaving, your family dynamics can be dramatically impacted by an adolescent living with a mental health disorder. It is critically important that you offer as much family support as possible while still practicing self-care. You know your teenager the best and will likely have a solid understanding of what approach or support will be most helpful to them. As you try to be there for your teen and usher them toward the help they need, consider the following things.
Know the Warning Signs of Mental Health Disorders
Long before you even consider offering family support to your teen, you need to be aware of the warning signs of mental health disorders. If several of the following are occurring, the mental health professionals at Imagine Spokane can be your first port of call for beginning the conversations that may help your teen:
- Changes to sleep, appetite, or mood
- Social withdrawal and loss of interest in hobbies and passions
- Apathy and loss of interest / quitting sports, failing in school
- Concentration, memory issues, and illogical thinking
- Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells, or touch
- Feeling disconnected
- Nervousness or suspiciousness
Starting the Conversation
The most important step in your teen’s journey toward a healthier and happier life is the first conversation you have with them to address their mental health struggles. You do not have to be an expert or to have all the answers as you express your concerns and listen to them without casting judgment. Be patient and caring, and do not disregard your teen’s feelings as they open up and be vulnerable with you.
Encourage Professional Help
Just as we would take our car into the shop to be worked on by professionals who have the knowledge and experience needed to work on an issue, encourage your teen to talk with a mental health care professional or with their primary care doctor. Remind your teen that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Learn More About Mental Health Disorders and Possible Treatments
One way to show family support to your teen living with a mental health disorder is to educate yourself on the different disorders and treatment options, including PHP, IOP, family therapy programs, and more. The more you understand about mental health conditions, symptoms, possible treatments, and what to expect as your teen begins their recovery journey, the better the family dynamics will be within your home.
Take Care of Yourself
It is important to remember the rule of putting on oxygen masks during an emergency in flight: take care of your own mask first before helping others. To be able to offer the maximum family support, you must take care of yourself first and simultaneously while the loved one living with a mental health disorder receives the care, treatment, and professional help they need and deserve at Imagine Spokane. Reach out for help for yourself if you need it and recognize the limits of what you can give by setting healthy boundaries.
Support groups for family members living with mental health disorders can be invaluable sources of information and understanding.
Learn More at Imagine Spokane
Our family therapy program can help you and your teen living with mental health disorders. Reach out to us online or call us at 509.870.3810 to get them the help they need today.