When people are struggling with physical, emotional or mental health issues, a social support system is invaluable in getting them from isolation to integration. Social support has been shown to benefit people in a wide range of situations, from the patients themselves to the families of patients. While many times, the focus of support is directed toward the person who is struggling with the challenge, the families of that person also need a lot of support.
Here are several places where families of those suffering from physical, emotional, behavioral or mental health challenges can find positive support.
1. Local Support Groups
When someone is going through some tough times, the best support that family members can receive is from local support groups full of other family members who know exactly what they are going through. It’s very beneficial for families to connect with others who may be further down the road in their situation. They can receive tips, resources, encouragement and much more by attending local support groups and getting involved.
2. Online Support Groups
If local support groups aren’t available, there are plenty of online resources that families can turn to. Online support groups gather people from around the world who are going through the same thing. It’s not a face-to-face support, but when it comes to sharing resources, successes and failures and getting encouragement during this challenge, online support groups can really help.
3. Extended Family and Friends
Extended family and friends are naturally part of any family’s support group and it’s important to communicate specific needs. Many families hear statements like, “Let us know if we can do anything,” but often others don’t really know what is needed. Being clear and specific toward extended family and friends and communicating needs is the best way for families of people with challenges to reduce their stress. Having assistance available from loved ones is often the foundation of a family’s support.
4. Professional Therapy
Dealing with someone’s emotional, behavioral or mental health issues can bring up a lot of issues with family members and often, family therapy is an important part of healing for everyone. A licensed professional therapist can guide families through the tough times and provide a lot of information, suggestions, and advice on keeping things together and supporting the family who is supporting the patient.
5. Neighborhood Resources
Families are part of a community, and preserving and enhancing that sense of belonging is a key part of staying strong for the patient. Families often rely on religious congregations, neighborhood clubs, social activities, sports teams and more to ensure they can relieve stress, pitch in and help when needed and provide encouragement and companionship.
Supporting the families of someone who is going through some challenges is often overlooked, but if the person is to recover and integrate back into the family at some point, the family needs to have their emotional and physical strength sustained. The good news is there are many sources of support for families.