How to support your friend’s treatment?

One of the most important things you can do to help a friend who is getting treatment is to give your unconditional support throughout the treatment process. This involves being compassionate and patient, which is not always easy when dealing with the negativity, hostility, and moodiness that go hand in hand with mental wellbeing problems.

Provide whatever assistance the person needs (and is willing to accept). Help your friend make and keep appointments, research treatment options, and stay on schedule with any treatments prescribeds.

Have realistic expectations. It can be frustrating to watch a friend struggle, especially if the treatment progress is slow or stalled. Having patience is important. Even with optimal treatment, recovery doesn’t happen overnight.

Lead by example. Encourage your friend to lead a healthier, mood-boosting lifestyle by doing it yourself: maintain a positive outlook, eat better, avoid alcohol and drugs, exercise, and lean on others for support.

Encourage activity. Invite your friend to join you in uplifting activities, like going to a funny movie or having dinner at a favourite restaurant. Exercise is especially helpful, so try to get your friend moving. Going on walks together is one of the easiest options. Be caring, yet gently persistent—don’t get discouraged or stop asking.

Pitch in when possible. Seemingly small tasks can be hard for a person with a mental wellbeing problem to manage. Offer to help out with household responsibilities or chores, but only do what you can without getting burned out yourself.

What is mental wellbeing?
Practical and emotional support in detail
What to do if your friend is resisting help?

Source: Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. in collaboration with Harvard University and NHS