Tips for Talking About Mental Health With a Loved One

According to the latest statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health Disorders, 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. face a diagnosable mental health condition. Sadly, many refrain from seeking help. When it comes to having a discussion about mental health with a loved one, it can be difficult to find a place to start. For the listener, it’s often difficult to find the right words to say or determine the best way to offer support. For the individual seeking help, it can be hard to describe just how they are feeling or even find the best course of action to do so. That is why we have compiled some advice to help you begin a conversation about mental health with your loved one.

Actively Listen

It’s a meaningful step for a loved one to open up about their mental health, so having an open ear to actively listen is key to understanding how you can best offer support. Being engaged in the conversation can be made easier by limiting distractions. Leave electronic devices turned off and put away when possible, and avoid bustling spaces like eateries or parks. Find somewhere private and comfortable. This will put you both at ease and also allow you to focus on what your loved one is expressing.

Don’t Judge

It’s also important to listen without judgment or comparison. It’s okay to share experiences that offer insight into coping mechanisms or that build trust and relatability, but try to refrain from making it a competition of who has it worse. This may make the individual seeking help feel as if their experience is not valid. Try your best as the listener to set opinions or biases aside to allow your loved one to express themselves without fear of disappointing you or feeling judged or embarrassed. Instead, listen with an open mind to learn and offer insight based on their specific mental health experience.

Do Your Research

When a loved one comes forward to discuss their mental health, it may be a challenge to really understand just what they are going through on a day-to-day basis. This is where ample research can help you as the listener. Find relevant online resources, like this example from WebMD, that give a digestible overview of specific mental health disorders that your loved one may be struggling with. Bring this research to the conversation and make note of their unique mental health experience and how it applies to what you have learned. This can allow you to be a better resource for next steps and set plans of action to help them cope with their mental health.

Be a Resource

Once you’ve determined the next steps based on the discussions you have had with your loved one about their mental health, set those steps in motion. Review everyday habits they can instill in their routine to feel a better sense of control over their mental health. Be present enough as well to know when to seek help that you, as the listener, can not provide yourself. This may include suggesting the need for professional help. Online psychiatry resources make it easier than ever to commit to routine help from professionals, all while staying in the comfort of your own space. As the listener, this can be a difficult topic to broach, but don’t be afraid to push your loved one to seek professional help if needed and reassure them that you will be with them every step of the way.

By |2021-11-02T10:49:35-05:00November 1st, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Tips for Talking About Mental Health With a Loved One

Guest Blog: 5 Signs of Mental Health Issues for Seniors


When you’ve started to notice changes in an elderly relative, you may wonder if a mental health issue is the cause. While it is important a mental health professional diagnoses these issues, some signs exist indicating that the time has come to make an appointment.

Depression
Depression can occur for a host of reasons. Elderly individuals may be suffering from the loss of a loved one, or they may feel alienated, isolated or otherwise separated from their friends or from their interests outside of the house. Individuals who seem filled with sadness and negative emotions or who are hinting about emotional turmoil may need outpatient or inpatient treatment for depression.

Anxiety Issues/Bipolar Disorder
You may also notice that your loved ones are having heightened periods of elevation followed by periods of deep sadness. They could be suffering from bipolar disorder. Serious anxieties could begin to manifest at this age too. For example, you may notice that your elderly relatives always seem to be thinking about their own death or about expected loss of other loved ones.

Memory Loss
As people age, you may think that it is a normal occurrence for them to forget information that they would have once remembered. However, these early slips could be signs of a more serious problem that is coming into fruition. Your loved ones might now be forgetting about certain dates or social events, but these struggles could turn into failures to take medication or complete other necessary medical tasks.

Personal Care
If you notice that your loved ones are not taking care of themselves as they used to, this situation could also be a sign of mental health issues. For example, you may have noticed that your relatives are no longer brushing their teeth or bathing on a regular basis. Seeking professional help can uncover the root of the issue so that a plan of treatment can be devised.

Social Withdrawal
Your loved ones might also seem to not want to participate in social activities anymore. Whether they are constantly declining invites to attend family functions or they do not want to participate in community activities any longer, these decisions could be signs that a mental health issue is present.

As your loved ones age, you may be the lookout for physical health issues. While addressing these problems is imperative, so is watching for signs of mental health struggles. May is mental health awareness month, get involved to help bring awareness to this important cause!

By |2021-09-29T10:34:46-05:00September 30th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: 5 Signs of Mental Health Issues for Seniors