The challenges a friend or loved one experiences with mental health or substance use can also affect the circle of individuals around them and their broader community. While the care and encouragement you offer your loved one is critical, it is also important to recognize your need for support as well.
Seeking support for yourself to maintain your own mental wellness may be the most important step you can take to help your friend or family member. Explore resources and community networks that are available to you:
Meeting with a mental health professional will give you an opportunity to address some of the unique challenges you are facing. A counselor can help you identify healthy coping, manage stress, and support in maintaining your own mental health. Find a counselor using the Office of Behavioral Health’s treatment search website.
Consider connecting with caregiver or support groups for friends and family of people with mental health or substance use disorders. These groups can help you learn from others who have been or are going through similar experiences, as well as increase the chances that you receive support from a community of understanding individuals. Social support is crucial to your wellbeing and can have positive effects on your mental health – so consider exploring informal support networks, either with in-person support groups or through online networks:
My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was five. For the past twenty years I have been his main caregiver. It has been difficult, but I have also learned much on this journey. Here is what I have discovered about self-care:
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