mental health Mandy Kloppers

How Neglecting Mental Health Can Devastate the Closest Families

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When someone goes to a doctor’s appointment, they usually get a thorough checkup. That can catch any illness before it progresses. Many times, a doctor will notice signs that a person has a medical condition, and they can take steps to treat it.

There are seldom mental health checkups. Someone might show signs indicating they’re not doing so well mentally, and the family might ignore them. That can devastate families if this person has a mental breakdown or does something harmful.

Let’s explore how neglecting someone’s mental health can harm and even destroy families.


Reasons Why Families Ignore Mental Health Struggles

Dr. Farizani and individuals like her have treatment facilities where they can help individuals with mental health struggles. First, though, the family must recognize the problem, or the struggling person must request help on their own.

Embarrassment is potentially a huge reason why family members might not notice or call out a mental health crisis in someone they love. They may feel like this person deserves their privacy, and they should not bring up the matter if the individual does not initiate the conversation.

A parent may feel like a teen wants their own space. They will leave the matter alone for weeks or months, and the teen might get worse during that time.

Parents might also not notice the problem. If the teen seems moody or withdrawn, a parent might feel that they’re going through a phase. They assume the teen will get over it on their own, so they don’t say anything.

With adults having mental health struggles, a spouse or partner might notice, but they may feel the situation will resolve itself without interference. These mental health issues might get worse, though. 

Perhaps the adult in question will become convinced that certain conspiracy theories have validity. They might stockpile weapons because they’ve become paranoid.


Mental Health Problem Warning Signs

If a family member seems withdrawn, that’s a mental health struggle warning sign. If they talk about things that everyone knows have no basis in logic or reality, that’s another one.

A family member sleeping all the time could indicate depression. They might also use drugs or alcohol and self-medicate. The other family members may feel they should give this person their space, but that can make the situation worse.


What Can Happen if There’s No Intervention?

Not talking with a family member who’s having mental health struggles might keep peace in the family for a while, but they may reach a point where they need help. If they don’t get it, they may snap while in traffic and have a road rage incident. They might commit a violent act like a mass shooting or attack another family member.

In these instances, the police will come for that person. The remaining family members may lament not stepping in sooner. They wanted to maintain peace and not rock the boat. Their standoffishness worked against them in this instance.

Unfortunately, this scenario happens often these days. A taboo about mental health remains in place. Talking about a cancer diagnosis isn’t difficult. Mentioning that someone has a mental health problem seems harder for some people.


What Can Families Do Differently?

Families should realize that mental health struggles often show signs before a person reaches a breaking point. They must remain active participants in each other’s lives.

If family members do this, they can usually connect with the struggling person. This individual might tell the family what is happening and ask for help.

At that point, the family can get the struggling individual into therapy. They might get them on medication that can help even them out. They may make changes in the person’s life that can relax them if they feel too anxious, nervous, or fearful.


Remain Active in Each Other’s Lives

Families that ignore mental health problems might have a tragedy on their hands if they do not say something. A family member who has a serious mental health problem can boil over like a pot if everyone else leaves them alone.

They might harm someone else or themselves. If that happens, the other family members might sit around asking themselves why they didn’t intervene.

These situations sometimes break up families entirely. A mental health breakdown can leave the other family members feeling guilt-stricken. The remaining family might fragment and drift apart. That’s why everyone must take mental health struggles seriously and identify the warning signs when they first emerge.


Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers