by Anna Yoni Jeffries
Have you ever wondered how to help a loved one who is experiencing difficulty with their mental health? Perhaps they aren’t the type to respond to help in the ways that stimulate you, or they have a hard time asking for help from anyone. In that instance, it is important to pay attention to them and the ways you can best support them on their individual journey through their mental health experiences.
Here are a few ways that I’ve given and received gifts that granted me appropriate access and aided in mental health development from my loved ones:
Set-up an appointment with a healthcare provider for a loved one who has expressed interest or hinted at taking their mental health journey to the next level. Taking the initial step to seek out clinical guidance is an intimidating measure for many people living with a mental health disorder or chemical imbalance, as we naturally perceive it as meaning that something may be inherently “wrong with us.” By helping a loved one take this step, it shows them that even if they are scared, you’ll stand by them and help them along their path. Although we often seek change, the fear of the unknown can seem daunting, and that’s enough to do the opposite of what may need to happen to get us to the next step in our process.
Learn the love languages of your loved ones to understand how to best provide care for them, even beyond what they ask for with their words. Many of us are often scared to let others know that we need help, though we unconsciously alert others with our display of emotions, moodiness, and physical actions. Here’s an interesting article on the five love languages, which are quality time, physical touch, acts of service, giving and receiving gifts, and words of affirmation.
Allocate time for the things that money cannot buy such as quality time, devoted attention, help completing tasks/acts of service, physical touch (hugs/hand holding), etc. These may seem unfulfilling in regards to gift giving, though they can mean the most for those who respond well to them. In a world of accessibility and tangible object overload, it is satisfying to receive a gift that falls outside the usual bounds of gift giving. I admire those who gift me with their presence in times of need, which means more for my mental health than one can imagine. Literal connection and time to share space with those I love most makes me feel exceptionally joyful – as though they care enough about me that they’d give the time they could be using to complete other tasks in their own lives. It is a humbling action of love to have a loved one devote themselves to you as an affirmation of their love and care.
Spending time to create personalized gift packages that appeal to the senses of loved ones is always a great gift giving option, too. Gift baskets that include usable objects such as Aromatherapy, a gift card for a nice dinner, a soft blanket, a unique and thought provoking art piece, or a new playlist of music you think they’d enjoy. This demonstration of care is noble because it takes specific attention to create a gift that speaks to who your loved one is, what they enjoy, and who they are independent of your joined relationship. I admire this form of gift giving most because I get to personalize gifts while presenting my loved ones with what I appreciate most about them.
What does your loved one value and admire, and what can they use on their continued journey? Asking ourselves questions like these can help us to choose on appropriate gifts that will add value and significance to their lives and what they enjoy.