Mood disorders: how to help a loved one

If you know someone who is suffering with a mood disorder, you may feel helpless, overwhelmed, confused and hopeless. You may feel angry and frustrated, or you may feel sad, exhausted or lost. Whatever you are feeling, it is important to remember that these are all normal emotions and you shouldn’t feel guilty – family members and friends are affected by mood disorders too.

How to help a loved one

What you need to know:

– Their illness is no fault of anyone, yours or theirs.
– You can’t make them better, but you can be there.
– The best way to learn what they need is by asking them how they feel.

What you can say that helps:

– You are not alone, I am here for you.
– It may not feel like it, but you will feel better in time.
– I may not understand, but I care for you and want to help.
– Even when you want to give up, tell yourself that you can hold on.
– You’re important to me, tell me what I can do to help.
– We will get through this together.

It can be difficult to know what to say and whether you are saying the right things. It is important that you let your friend know how much you love them and how you want to help. Make sure they know they are not alone and support is available, in whatever form they feel will be effective.

What you should avoid saying:

– You’ll be fine, don’t worry about it.
– We all know how you feel.
– Look on the bright side…
– What’s wrong with you?
– Why are you feeling like this?

As a friend or family member of someone who is experiencing a mood disorder, it is your support that can help them on their journey to wellness. Don’t give up hope and remember that many people with a mood disorder can get better and return to a productive life. Keep working with your friend, support them through their journey and remind them that you are not going anywhere.

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Written by Ellen Lees
Head of Content.
Written by Ellen Lees
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