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When you struggle with a mental health disorder, chances are, your family has noticed. As someone who is struggling, you may want to educate them about mental illness and how best to support you. Doing so can bring your family closer together and help you along your healing process. So, what are the best ways to educate your family about mental illness?

Plan Ahead

Planning what you want to say to your family ahead of time can help you overcome some of the fear you may have surrounding the discussion. It may also help to write down what you want to say so you don’t forget.

Prepare for How They May React

Not everybody will be ready to support you and your mental health issues. Unfortunately, stigma regarding mental health still exists. Even very loving and supportive family members may be shocked or react defensively. Give your family time to process the information, and perhaps get a friend or mental health professional to help you have the conversation.

Choose What to Share

Decide in advance what parts of your experience you’ll talk about and what parts you won’t. Stand by your decision. It’s perfectly understandable to answer a question with a statement like “I’d rather not talk about that right now.”

Let Them Know How to Help

Your family members may not know how to help. Think about ways they can support you, including helping you make therapy appointments or checking in with you regularly. It may also help to let them know what isn’t helpful. For example, you may not want them to ask you every day how you are feeling.

Provide Relevant Information

Providing your family with information on your specific diagnosis, symptoms, and more can help them understand your mental health issues better. Pamphlets, books, and reliable online resources are great places to find information to share with your family. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is an excellent web resource and is home to a number of programs that are great places for people to meet and socialize while learning about mental illness.

Educating your family about mental illness can seem challenging at first. However, by planning ahead, preparing for how they may react, choosing what you want to share, letting them know to help, and providing relevant information, you are capable of having the discussion. If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health disorder, The Guest House is here to help. We use a variety of therapeutic modalities to address each client’s needs and can help you live a happy and healthy life. To learn more about treatment options, call us today at (855) 483-7800.