A Letter To The Friends and Family Of Someone With a Mental Illness

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I take it that as you are reading this you wish to support someone who has a mental illness and for that I also say thank you. Here are some things I, someone who has a mental illness, feel you might need to know. These are my own personal views and may differ from the person you know but I hope there is something helpful within this letter.

The first thing I want to ask you is to remember something and that is that sometimes talking is the hardest thing for us to do, but knowing someone is there to listen when we’re ready makes a huge difference. Let us know you’re there to talk to but please don’t pressure us to speak about what is going on. Sometimes we don’t have the words to say what is going on in our heads. It can also take a lot of courage to talk about what is going on. Please be patient with us.

The second thing I want to ask is related to the first and is about being patient with us, not just in regards to speaking out. I know it must be hard seeing someone you love suffering but forcing them to do things can have the opposite effect to what is desired. It can make us feel worse. In my experience it made me feel more alone and think more negatively about myself. Sometimes we need to do things for ourselves no matter how long it takes for us to do it. I know it must be hard to know when to help and when to hold back but if you’re patient with us hopefully it will become obvious.

Another thing I want you to know is that the small things make a big difference. A simple text saying “how are you?” or the offer of a drink can make us feel less isolated. Even if we don’t always respond, the fact that you have thought of us means a great deal, we just may not be able to answer at the time. Other small things could be watching a film together or just making your self available for a chat. All these things let us know we are not alone and that someone thinks we’re worth something.

The next thing I want to say is to make sure you have some support. Supporting someone with any illness can be tough so having an outlet of your own is also important. This will help the person you are helping as well as you. You are so important too!

The final thing I want to say is that we are grateful even if at times it is hard to show it. We might get angry or appear ungrateful but we are truly thankful for your support. Sometimes our illness is hard to fight and clouds our judgements and thoughts which makes it difficult to show just how grateful we are. So thank you.

Recovery for us is possible. It takes time however and doesn’t show in the same way recovery from a physical illness does. It might not be a cure but just an acceptance and management of our illness. Please remember that.


A Person With A Mental Illness

2 thoughts on “A Letter To The Friends and Family Of Someone With a Mental Illness

  1. yastyria

    I read both of your (great) letters. I not only have my own mental health issues, but also live with someone who does. Sometimes I get impatient. Or angry. Or sad. It is very difficult at times.

    But most of the time it’s a good thing. Because we know a lot more about what the other person is going trough, we can relate and we talk a lot about it.

    Thank you, it was a very nice read.


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