Learning how to support someone receiving treatment for mental health conditions can make a world of difference for your loved one. Whether someone you know is facing a crisis or your loved one is suffering from a long-term condition, providing and facilitating social support can ameliorate those struggles. From harmful stigmas to not knowing where to start, there are several obstacles to engaging in therapy and other versions of mental health treatment. Sustainable social support can play an important role in recovery from depression.
What is Social Support?
Providing social support refers to providing a network of physical, emotional, and informational support. Social support can alleviate the anxiety, stress, and difficulties that come with going to therapy. There are three general areas that social support can take the form of, which are:
- Emotional support
- Instrumental support
- Informational support
As a provider of social support, you may be a spouse, relative, or friend; each is thought to have distinct protective effects against depression. For example, an observational study measured by 36 database-specific studies found that spouses provided the most consistent protection from depression for adults, followed by friends and family. For children and adolescents, support from their guardians was found to be most related to protection from depression.
Providing Emotional Support
Lending a listening ear is one of the most important things you can do. While it’s not your job to diagnose or provide professional advice, asking about how they feel and what has changed can show you’re earnest in supporting them throughout the process. Offer your time for some healthy external processing outside of their therapist’s room. Ask about scheduling weekly check-ins via phone calls or walks to listen and share emotional experiences.
It’s also key to know the boundaries associated with your role. You are not a therapist, life coach, or mental health professional. Even so, your loved one may value your opinion highly, so hold back on making definitive suggestions. Think of yourself instead as a sounding board. Make yourself available and support the treatment plan they choose.
If your loved one resists your support, remind them gently that you come from a place of love and care. Pointing out their positive attributes and actions can encourage them to pursue their treatment.
Providing Instrumental Support
Ask your loved one about the ways you can physically show up and help out. Instrumental support can take the form of helping out with errands, housekeeping, and meal preparation, amongst other things. If you are wondering how to support someone in therapy if they feel uneasy about it, offer to accompany them. You could wait in the waiting room, providing a comforting presence at the same time as enough space for their privacy.
Providing informational Support
Informational support can be imperative. You may offer to help find a suitable therapist or psychiatrist. Prior to getting the help they need, it can be difficult to start the search. Chip in by doing your research and contacting various professionals. Reading up on psychology resources and articles can often be helpful.
Providing the best support you can is a two-way street. Ask about their needs and how you can meet them. Ultimately, make sure they know that you are open and available for them to come to you for help if they need it. Being familiar with what they are going through can also help them feel more comfortable talking to you about their challenges.
Social Support Combats Stigmas
Ultimately, social support forgoes a decades-long hurdle to receiving mental health treatment–the all too prevalent stigmas around mental illnesses. By supporting a loved one, you are signaling that you understand the weight of what they are going through. Additionally, initiating supportive actions can validate your loved one’s experience.
Support Someone in Therapy with Mid City TMS
At Mid City TMS, we understand the difficulties surrounding getting mental health care. Isolation can increase the risk of depression and other mental illnesses. Make sure your loved one knows that they are never alone and that there is a treatment and better future out there for them.
If therapy and medication seem to be doing very little for your loved ones, consider trying Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). TMS is one of the most effective procedures for treatment-resistant depression. Our expert team at Mid City TMS provides comprehensive, individualized care that is safe and non-invasive.
Mid City TMS accepts most insurance plans including Medicare. Contact our team today for guidance through the insurance process or to learn more about our services. Better is possible with Mid City TMS, and it could be just one phone call away. Call us at 212-517-1867 with any questions you have.