How to Support a Family Member When They are Struggling

Sometimes for no fault of their own, family members can start to struggle for one reason or another. While in most cases they will be able to deal with problems themselves and move on, sometimes they need additional support. This is the time when they need their friends and more importantly, their family around them. But how can you begin to support a member of your family that are struggling?

Don’t Ignore it

If you see a family member and they’re acting a little strange, or not quite themselves, it’s important that you don’t simply ignore it. Instead, try to speak to them if you can, and find out if there’s anything you can do to help them. If they say they are fine, or they don’t want to talk about it don’t try to push the issue. However, you might be able to speak to other members of the family to find out the situation. It could be that they don’t know there is a problem, or they haven’t noticed that they are acting a little strange. If this is the case, then you need to think about how you can create a plan to help them and support them.

Go and See Them

In some cases, a family member’s problems can be missed either because they live alone, or because they don’t get much company. That is why it is so important to try and see all of your family members as often as possible. It could be that you are the only person they see and if you can’t visit them for some reason, any issues they have might get worse. When you get to see them try to make a time when you can spend a decent amount of time with them. You can take something for them to do with you like a puzzle or perhaps watch a movie together. If there any reason you can’t make it on one occasion, try to find another family member who can step in for you.

Look Out for Signs

Sometimes, people can exhibit signs of certain behavior or personality changes. These changes might be subtle at first but can become increasingly profound as time goes on. If you think there is a problem with one of your family members, or you I’ve heard they may be struggling with some things in life, then it’s important you try to look for signs that could back up these suspicions. For example, if you suspect that one of your family members is suffering from depression, then you need to look for signs such as tearfulness, lack of energy, agitation, and restlessness. You also want to ask other friends and family if they see similar signs in them. It’s also important to look for other problems such as possible addiction, or in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts.

Encourage Support and Help

You will often find the people who are suffering from an addiction or depression try to avoid getting help. This might not be because they don’t want to be helped but rather that they feel ashamed or that they are just not ready. It is important, however, that you try your best to encourage support and help from other friends and family members, and if possible, from a medical professional. It might be that there is only one person they are happy to speak to. If this is the case, then you should encourage this person to try and talk to them as much as possible to see if they can help. They might be able to get to the cause of the issue and also encourage them to seek help and treatment. Above all else, it is vital that you try to get them help for this depression or this addiction before the situation becomes too serious.

Get Support for Yourself

Sometimes taking care of a family member can cause problems for the person looking after them. This kind of stress can be difficult to deal with, especially if you are isolated. To try and deal with this, it’s important that you have your own support network that can help you and listen to you. Ideally, you want to have some type of therapy from a professional who can help you deal with the emotions and stresses you are experiencing. If you end up being this person’s full-time carer as can often be the case, then you need to think about having your own time and space. This is important, so you have your own hobbies and interests and time to be yourself to relax. If you’re looking after a loved one that is especially ill, then you can also get respite care to help you when you need a break.

Being a friend, support, or carer for anyone is a big responsibility, but sometimes it can happen almost by accident. If you have found a family member that needs your help, then all you can do is be there for them and offer them the kind of help support they need. It might not always be easy, but it will be worth it.

Thanks to Ana

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