4 Tips to Care for a Sibling or Parent With Mental Illness

It’s not easy to see your sibling or parent struggling with mental illness. And instinctively, you would want to give them the best care. But the caregiving journey is rarely straightforward and you may not even know where to begin. 

To give you a start, we’ve listed some important tips to help you care for your loved one. Every individual is different and depending on their age you may have to customize these tips for better results. 

Siblings with mental illness

1. Have a Candid Conversation

The first step is to start a candid conversation about their mental health. The aim is to express your concerns and to offer reassurance that you’re there to support them. Since this is a touchy subject, talking when both of you are calm is recommended. Exercise patience and understanding and avoid judging their expressions and actions. 

It’s reasonable to expect resistance and assuring them that the illness is just like any other may help. However, if it escalates into outbursts, it’s best to step away and find another time to re-engage. Lastly, encourage them to seek professional help and remind them that seeking help is a sign of bravery.                                                                            

2. Consult a Medical Professional

A mental health professional can evaluate your sibling or parent to give you a clear diagnosis of their mental illness. If your loved one is hesitant to talk to a therapist, schedule a medical doctor’s visit. They can rule out any physical condition and encourage your loved one to talk to a psychologist or a therapist for further diagnosis. 

A mental health specialist helps you to understand the condition better, work with them to develop coping strategies, and recommend to you some practical caregiver tips. 

3. Offer Support 

Support can take different forms. For a start, you can help them keep up with the prescribed medications and therapist visits. Educating yourself about the condition and the treatments available can help expand your scope of caregiver support. Offer to find support groups that can help them overcome isolation and stigma associated with mental illness. Whatever support they need, your help goes a long way in assisting them to get better.

4. Seek Support for Yourself

Lastly, caring for a sibling or parent with mental illness can get exhausting and overwhelming over time. Maintaining proper self-care prevents caregiver burnout and gives your time to deal with any pent-up emotions. 

Understand your limits and seek help when you need it. Even if it means collaborating with other family members or hiring an in-home care professional to assist with tasks when you need to take a break. Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally puts you in a better position to take care of your loved one. 

Contact Answers LLC for Dependable Family Support Specialist Services 

Every family with a loved one coping with mental illness needs a community that can offer support and encouragement. Our family support specialists at Answers LLC are certified professionals who are always ready to provide guidance and support in helping you navigate your caregiving journey. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.