Helping A Loved One

Click here to print this page

It can be difficult for families and friends to help someone who has a mood disorder. You are concerned about your loved ones but can be frustrated, fearful and even angry as you try to support them.

Many of our support groups across Ontario have peer support for family members and friends [hyperlink to peer support group page].

Ten Tips For Family Members and Friends

  1. It’s not your fault: You did not cause your family member’s illness.
  2. You are not alone: Millions of families are caring for someone with a mood disorder. You can meet other family members at peer support groups
  3. Your emotions and reactions are normal: You may experience a range of emotions, and that’s normal. While that is to be expected and understood, don’t let your emotions get in the way of your relationship with your loved one.
  4. Take care of yourself: Set healthy boundaries and limitations on how much you will do. Take time for yourself and for activities you enjoy.
  5. Find social support: Supporting a family member with a mood disorder can be lonely and isolating. Find support through other families who are going through a similar experience.
  6. Knowledge is power: Learn as much as you can about your loved one’s illness and the treatment options.
  7. Life is a marathon: Progress is often made in very small steps. Applaud progress and provide encouragement.
  8. You are only human: You don’t have the power to change the neurochemistry in your loved one’s brain. Just do the best that you can do.
  9. Create a crisis plan: Talk to your loved one about what will happen in the event of a crisis, under various circumstances. Put the plan in writing.
  10. Never lose hope. Mood disorders are treatable medical conditions. Because mood disorders are often cyclical, the going may get really tough. Just remember that the right treatment is out there. Hold onto hope and remember that you are not alone.