Tips for caregivers of family member with mood disorder
Don’t be critical. When the person wants to talk, listen carefully, but avoid giving advice or opinions or making judgments. Try not to blame them or put too much pressure on them to get better straight away. Give positive reinforcement.
Be understanding. Let your friend or family member know that you are there if they need a sympathetic ear, encouragement, or assistance with treatment.
Help create a low-stress environment. Offer to make a schedule for meals, medication, physical activity and sleep, and help organize household chores.
Support them to get help. Explain that treatment is not personality-altering and can greatly help to relieve symptoms. It is important to reassure your depressed family member that it’s OK to ask for help, and that there is help out there.
Help them to adhere to treatment. Help them prepare for mental health care provider appointments by putting together a list of questions. Offer to go along to health care appointments and to attend family therapy sessions. Help them stick with the prescribed treatment plan.
Show patience. Getting better takes time, even when a person is committed to treatment. Do not expect a quick recovery or a permanent cure.
Stay alert for warning signs of suicide. Take all signs of suicidal behavior seriously and act immediately. Contact a doctor, a hospital or emergency medical services for help. Let other family members or close friends know what’s going on. Remove all available means of attempting suicide (medication, sharp objects and poisonous household chemicals.
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