According to the World Health Organization, one in four people in the world will experience a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives.1 Given that statistic, most of us are likely to have a family member affected. While mental illness is not something any of us wants to face, there are a lot of ways we can help loved ones dealing with a mental health issue.
One of the most direct ways families can help is to simply be present. That’s because strong social connections, including those with family members, can improve mental health and well-being.2 But there are other, more specific, steps you can take, both in the role you play in your family member’s treatment plan and in the methods in which you provide daily support.
In a paper published in World Psychology, Margaret Leggatt noted that, in Western cultures, mental health professionals often fail to involve family members in the treatment of patients.3 This habit limits how much families can help, but it doesn’t need to be this way.
If you have a family member who needs mental health counseling and/or psychiatric treatment, you should seek out professionals who are willing to work with you and other family members. According to Leggatt, you should expect a mental health professional to:
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there are a lot of ways you can support a family member dealing with and/or recovering from a mental health issue.4 These include:
If you want to help families who have a family member facing a mental health issue, you should consider a career in family counseling. But first, you’ll want to earn the appropriate degree, such as an MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. Through an MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program, you can gain experience in diagnosing mental and emotional disorders as well as in resolving marriage and family conflicts related to divorce, mediation, child-rearing, school issues, and family violence.
If you’re concerned you don’t have the time to earn a master’s in marriage, couple, and family counseling, online learning can provide a solution. Unlike with campus-based master’s programs, an online master’s program lets you complete your coursework right from home. Plus, an online counseling degree program can give you the flexibility to attend classes at whatever time of day works best for your schedule, affording you the opportunity to work full time while you earn your MS degree.
Many families will have to deal with a mental health issue at some point. Thanks to online education, you can earn the degree you need to help these families overcome the challenges they face.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.