When a child or friend reaches out for help with an issue they are struggling with, such as depression or substance abuse, they are looking for a lifeline. Caught in an unfamiliar situation, you may not know how to help them. If someone you love reaches out for support, here are a few things you can do to help them get better including, professional assistance from a long term care program.
Listen. Don’t let a person’s plea for help fall on deaf ears. If your friend or child comes to you for help or insinuates that they need help, listen closely to what they have to say. Sometimes, they’ll be expressing these feelings for the first time, and your listening skills may determine whether or not they remain willing to communicate with you and with others. Lend an ear and give your support.
Seek professional help. Despite your best efforts, it’s likely your child or friend will need more help than you can provide. Reach out to a medical health professional, councilor, a long term care program, or someone else equipped and qualified to deal with the issue at hand. Your loved one may express that they do not want or need external help, but sometimes honoring this wish inhibits their healing. You might have to do some digging to find the appropriate support for them, and you may also need to work hard to convince them that they need this extra help, but in the end it’s the best thing you can do for them.
Become involved in treatment. Don’t “pass off” your child or friend to a professional for treatment; they need your active, ongoing support. There are lots of ways to become actively involved: drive them to treatment when they need it, ask them about their program and the actions they’re taking, or attend a therapy session if they ask for your support. Encourage their progress and check in often. People are more likely to succeed in treatment if they know their progress matters to someone else.
Do things together. Invite your loved one to participate in your daily activities or suggest new activities that you can do together that promote feelings of reward or accomplishment. Focus on small, achievable goals, such as hiking a challenging trail, completing an art project or finishing a book. Your active participation in making the little things achievable can make all the difference to your friend or child.
Stay in contact. You might have to work harder than your friend or child to keep communication constant. Don’t take it personally that they don’t reach out often or if they back away when you reach out. Struggling individuals tend to isolate themselves and often pull back from those that are closest to them in an attempt to hide their troubles. It’s up to you to reach out and let them know you care.
Get educated. It’s hard to help a friend or child when you really don’t understand the issue. Gather information from reliable, trusted sources and read up on what the person you care about is going through. You can also pass helpful information on to your friend or child so that they are in a better position to help themselves.
Step outside. The outdoors can help a person feel better and get healthier. Go for a walk. Sit in a park and get grounded. Play a sport. If your loved one needs a treatment program, wilderness therapy is a great alternative to a traditional 28-day program. Incorporating different therapy models, as well as a holistic diet, physical exercise and the healing power of nature, wilderness therapy sees exceptional results in those that participate in the program.
If your child or friend reaches out to you because they are feeling suicidal or having thoughts of suicide, or you suspect that they may be having such thoughts, act immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
When a child or friend reaches out to you for help with a struggle that they are facing, there are many things you can do to support them. Simply letting them know you care and that you’re ready to help is the first step. Practicing these simple tips can aid you in steering your friend or child on the path to full recovery. To learn more about all available options, including a long term care program, such as wilderness therapy, contact Rites of Passage today at (800)794-0980.