How to Help People with Severe Mental Illness

November 5, 2013 Alexa Poe

Sometimes, I think about the people I went to school with when I was a kid and a teenager and I wonder where they are now, what their lives are like. Are they successful? Do they have their own homes? A nice and enjoyable career, or have they moved away? Rarely do I consider whether they have a severe mental illness.

Many of us view our young adulthood years as the time when we find some of our first jobs and apartments and having the freedom to begin “Life.” But some of us aren’t so lucky. Our severe mental illnesses take an enormous toll on living (Living With A Mental Illness And Self-Stigma).

Some with Severe Mental Illness Need Our Help

I learned the other day that an old friend of mine, in my young teenage years, was one of those unlucky people. Life became too difficult for him and, like some of us, he lacked a support system as well. He was unable to pull himself out of that dark pit that he had somehow found himself in over the years and he had no way to afford any professional help (How to Help Someone with a Mental Illness).Many people living with severe mental illnesses need help to get on their feet. Read what you can do to help those with severe mental illness. Take a look.

His struggles and living conditions were completely hidden to the outside world for years and wasn’t noticed until recently. There are many people, like my old friend, who live with mental illnesses themselves and within their families and home life and are unable to help themselves. They need help, but what can we do?

How to Help People With A Severe Mental Illness

  1. Put them in contact with community services. Most places, if not all, have many community services for lower income families and individuals, as well as homeless people, to help them get back on their feet.
  2. Actively listen to them. Look them in the eye and respond when needed. Don’t criticize or push them, and let them know that you’re there for them.
  3. Try to create and maintain a stable and calm relationship and environment.
  4. Remember the illness is no one's fault.
  5. Help track symptoms, moods, and thoughts. Keep a notebook or chart. (We have a online mood journal here at HealthyPlace to help with this.)

Is there anything you have done and found helpful? Unhelpful? What are your thoughts?

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APA Reference
Poe, A. (2013, November 5). How to Help People with Severe Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Alexa Poe

November, 15 2018 at 12:22 pm

How do I discuss my issue with my partner?

November, 7 2013 at 11:14 pm

What efforts are you making? If it isn't having much of an impact, then you might want to examine it more closely.

November, 7 2013 at 2:22 pm

What do you do when all your efforts are rebuffed and rejected with long convoluted diatribes on society's failings and the person refuses to get help?

Stephanie Jones
November, 7 2013 at 1:17 pm

Don't use negative language. Ex. Say the person is scary.

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