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How to Help a Loved One with Mental Health Challenges Discreetly

mental health issues

Mental health problems prevail to a great extent these days. Therapists and counsellors play their role but the significant others or the family members of the person going through any mental health issue also play a huge role.

Since one is not much acquainted with dealing with such, it gets challenging sometimes. As a caregiver, understanding the psychological dynamics at play and employing effective strategies can make a significant difference in your loved one’s journey toward recovery.

Various signs to look out for if you think your partner or loved on may be facing mental health issues:

Observe Changes in Behaviour

Pay attention to any noticeable changes in their behaviour, mood, or habits. This could include sudden mood swings, increased irritability, social withdrawal, or changes in sleep patterns.

Listen and Validate

Create a supportive and non-judgmental environment where your loved one feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings. Listen actively and validate their emotions without dismissing or minimising them.

Notice Physical Symptoms

Some mental health issues can manifest physical symptoms like headaches, digestive problems, or unexplained aches and pains. Take note of any physical complaints your loved one may have, especially if they seem persistent or unrelated to any other health condition.

Monitor Self-Care

Pay attention to their self-care habits, such as personal hygiene, grooming, and nutrition. A decline in self-care could be a sign of underlying mental health issues.

Watch for Substance Abuse

Substance abuse or increased reliance on alcohol or drugs can sometimes be a coping mechanism for underlying mental health issues. Be aware of any changes in their substance use patterns.

Notice Changes in Work or School Performance

Mental health issues can impact a person’s ability to function effectively in their daily life. Keep an eye out for changes in their performance at work or school, such as decreased productivity, absenteeism, or difficulty concentrating.

Look for Social Withdrawal

Isolation or withdrawal from social activities and relationships can be a red flag for mental health issues. If your loved one is avoiding social interactions or spending excessive time alone, it may indicate underlying issues.

Various tips and supportive measures to help are discussed below

Self Learning

First and foremost thing is to know about the mental illness of your loved one with proper knowledge. Knowing about the symptoms, triggers and treatment requirements can help providing desired support.

Be an Empathetic Listener

Listen to your loved one without judgement or interruption. Validate their feelings and experiences, letting them know you’re there for them. Reflective listening techniques, such as paraphrasing and summarising, can enhance communication and foster a deeper connection

Promote Professional Assistance

Motivate your family member to consult a therapist, psychiatrist, or counsellor for professional assistance. Offer to help them locate appropriate resources and, if necessary, go with them to appointments. Honour their independence while subtly highlighting how crucial it is to get expert assistance.

Promote Supportive Environment

Creating a safe space for your loved ones where they can freely express them may be helpful. Recovery from mental illness is a time consuming process so one has to be really patient as a caregiver. Encourage self-care activities and offer to participate in them together, whether it’s going for a walk, practising mindfulness, or engaging in a hobby.

Practice Compassion

As a caregiver, one has to be compassionate and considerate towards their loved one’s struggle. Avoid minimising their experiences or offering unsolicited advice. Instead, validate their emotions and offer reassurance that they’re not alone in their journey.

Setting Boundaries

While offering support, it’s essential to maintain healthy boundaries to protect your own well-being. Communicate openly with your loved one about your needs and limitations. Set realistic expectations for both of you and seek support from friends, family, or a therapist when necessary.


To provide essential love and care to your family member, you have to prioritise yourself too. Practising self care activities such as deep breathing, exercise can make you feel energised and reduce stress.

Engage in activities you enjoy, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and seek support from your own network or a therapist if needed.


Supporting a loved one through mental illness requires patience, empathy, and understanding. By educating yourself, practising active listening, and fostering a supportive environment, you can play a crucial role in their recovery journey. Remember to prioritise your own well-being and seek support when needed. Together, you can navigate the challenges of mental illness and foster resilience and healing.