As the parent or loved one of a young adult with mental illness, you may have witnessed the absence of hope that is so often prevalent with these disorders. It can be painful to watch someone lose hope and believe they are worthless and have nothing to live for.
Hope is an important part of recovery. It is the characteristic that lets us look forward to new day or a better day despite our current situation. It is the characteristic that encourages us to find the glimmer of positivity in our situation.
How do you help a loved one nurture hope? A few tips include:
Help him or her find something to be grateful for daily – This may be simply that the sun is shining or that there are clean clothes in the drawer or the color of a beautiful apple. The little things count as much as the big ones do.
Explore what the meaning or purpose of your loved one’s life is – What’s on the other side of the current situation? Help find that “carrot” in the future that motivates and pulls your loved one forward. It may be returning to class, finding a job, rock climbing, or volunteer work.
Discuss the strength that comes from overcoming adversity – What has your loved one learned on this journey? How is it shaping his or her character? Focus on the positive lessons learned and how resilience expands with each obstacle overcome and helps prepare us for new challenges.
Approach these conversations in a casual, matter-of-fact way and without pressure. This is not an item to be checked off of a to-do list. The idea is to open your loved one up to new ideas and a broader way of thinking, not inadvertently cause him or her to throw up new walls or withdraw from you.
Are you caring for a loved one with a mental illness?
The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 407-574-5190 for more information.