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Communicating With Persons With Mental Health Conditions

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​​​​​​Translate Your Emotions Into Words

A problem faced by many caregivers of persons with mental health issues is how to communicate with their loved ones. You care deeply, but it may be hard to translate your emotions into words. Here are some concrete tips that you may find useful as a caregiver of persons with mental health issues.

​​​​​​​​​Some Advice To Consider

1. Work with a trusted family member or friend

Communication is more effective when the other person is open to receiving information and advice. As such, it is useful to identify a family member or friend that your loved one trusts and is open to communicating with. After identifying the trusted person, discuss with this person what needs to be communicated, and have that person talk to your loved one. Keep the lines of communication open so that the trusted person can keep you posted on what happens, and remain approachable to your loved one in case he or she decides to seek your point of view.

2. Respectfully express concern and support

Express concern about any behaviours of concern. Let your loved one know that you care about them and express your support to be there for them and lend a listening ear.

3. Do an activity together

It is important that you continue to do things together, even if it is something as simple as doing stretching exercises for 10 minutes, or watching his or her favourite TV show after a meal. Communication is not limited to conversations with or advice given to your loved one. It can also be conveyed through these simple activities. Even if your loved one may not seem to be aware or appreciative of your efforts at this time, spending time together can create bonds and shared spaces.

4. Put yourself in your loved one’s shoes

This can be very difficult because it is hard to understand or rationalise why your loved one does what he or she does. However, you can improve your communication significantly by practising empathy. Be understanding of what he or she is going through, be patient and recognise his or her strengths.​

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