What You Should Do If You Believe A Loved One is Struggling

People always have their bad days - sometimes, even bad weeks.

But then there are moments where struggling becomes an every day occurrence, and what makes that worse is when you see it happening to a loved one. If you are worried that your loved one seems to be in a concerning mental state, don’t be afraid to take action.

This is what you should do if you believe a loved one is struggling:

Educate yourself on the issue

If your loved one’s issue is apparent, such as a drug or alcohol addiction, take the time to educate yourself on what they experience due to that circumstance or learn about specific information. Without that knowledge, you will have no clear sense of direction on how to help them in the first place. Additionally, researching your loved one’s issue can give you a better understanding of their situations and overall make you more empathetic towards them.

Offer your support

Regardless of whether or not the issue is clear, you can gently approach a loved one to communicate your concerns with them. Never start off with an accusatory tone or make them feel they’re about to receive a lecture. Offer your support in the form of being a listener when they need it or help when it’s asked for. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you or you don’t feel qualified to offer support, you can direct a loved one to resources and professionals who are equipped with the knowledge and tools to help them. Lastly, it’s important to remember we shouldn’t unnecessarily hold our loved one’s hand every step of the way because that enables them to act like a victim and not take responsibility for their actions.

Understand and accept that you cannot "fix" them

No matter what you do, you can never “fix” your loved one. While that is disheartening to hear since we want the best for our loved ones, it’s a truth we need to accept. People can only fix or improve themselves; only by their own choices and actions can they move forward. What you have the power to change are the reactions you have towards your loved one and their situation. Don’t feel guilty if nothing changed for your loved one despite taking the action to help them. All we can do from that point forward is to trust them to overcome their struggle. 

Take care of yourself

When you’re so focused on helping your loved one, it’s natural to suddenly prioritize their struggles over your own. No matter what the circumstances may be, you should never sacrifice your happiness or well-being for the sake of another person. If you become overwhelmed with helping a loved one, don’t be afraid to take a step back and breathe. Otherwise, you may end up neglecting your personal life and health without even realizing it.

Intervene only if necessary

The only time you should intervene is when you believe their life is being threatened. Common examples include: demonstrating abnormal behaviors, showing physical deterioration, experiencing suicidal ideation, or attempting to harm themselves.

At the end of the day, we all want our loved ones to be happy and pain-free. However, sometimes, events happen that are beyond their control which suddenly forces them to struggle or overcome an issue. When that is the case, we as their loved ones should put our best foot forward to support them in every way possible, encourage them, and trust that they will continue to overcome adversities on their own.

about the author…Rachel is a freelance content writer located in San Diego, California currently writing for Medically Assisted. Over the course of her career, she has written a variety of health, parenting, and fitness articles. In her free time, she enjoys running along the beach with her two puppies and practicing yoga.