Friends and Relatives

Friends & Family

 

If you know someone who has bipolar disorder, it affects you too. The first and most important thing you can do is help him or her get the right diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make the appointment and go with him or her to see the doctor. Encourage your loved one to stay in treatment.

If a friend or family member is showing signs of a mental health problem or reaching out to you for help, offer support by:

  • Finding out if the person is getting the care that he or she needs and wants—if not, connect him or her to help
  • Expressing your concern and support
  • Reminding your friend or family member that help is available and that mental health problems can be treated
  • Asking questions, listening to ideas, and being responsive when the topic of mental health problems come up
  • Reassuring your friend or family member that you care about him or her
  • Offering to help your friend or family member with everyday tasks
  • Including your friend or family member in your plans—continue to invite him or her without being overbearing, even if your friend or family member resists your invitations
  • Educating other people so they understand the facts about mental health problems and do not discriminate
  • Treating people with mental health problems with respect, compassion, and empathy

 

Never ignore comments from your friend or relative about harming himself or herself. Always report such comments to his or her therapist or doctor.

 


If someone you know is in Crisis and considering suicide, tell someone who can help immediately.
• Call your doctor
• Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things
• Call the toll-free
24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at:

1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

or

TTY

1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

 

MAKE SURE A SUICIDAL PERSON IS NOT LEFT ALONE


 

Other Ways To Help

  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement
  • Learn about bipolar disorder so you can understand what your friend or relative is experiencing
  • Talk to your friend or relative and listen carefully
  • Listen to feelings your friend or relative expresses and be understanding about situations that may trigger bipolar symptoms
  • Invite your friend or relative out for positive distractions, such as walks, outings, and other activities
  • Remind your friend or relative that, with time and treatment, he or she can get better

 


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