Supporting Your Loved One with Mental Illness: Isolation Edition

By: Jayson Tripp, MD


With the spread of COVID-19, now more than ever before loved ones and friends are isolating from one another. Even in the best of circumstances, supporting a loved one living with mental illness  can be difficult, so for family and friends of someone with depression, anxiety, or even physical illnesses, the inability to spend time with the ones they hold dear can feel devastating on many levels. Thankfully, in the age of technology and innovation there are many ways to support those who matter most to you from any distance.

While every person’s situation is different, here are a few things you can do to show those who matter most to you how much you care.

1. Make a custom care package.

Everybody loves to see you care enough to know what they love. Maybe your uncle eats popcorn when he’s having a rough day, or your niece likes to take bubble baths to counteract her anxiety. Or perhaps you remember your mother-in-law chews blueberry bubble gum all the time. When you send a package with items you know matter to your loved one, you also send a clear message you are thinking of them.

2. Watch a movie together virtually

So maybe you can’t sit on the couch next to them, but with advances in video conferencing have come programs designed specifically to allow friends to enjoy movie night together. So grab your favorite soda, pop some delicious buttery popcorn, and pull out your favorite movie for a fantastic night out at home. To make it easy, you can find a list of highly rated collaborative movie night software  here.

3. Write them a letter

According to a study published on LinkedIn , many people feel like handwritten letters are more honest and valuable. For someone struggling with mental illness, at times it can feel difficult to believe people truly care. A handwritten letter conveys a lot of extra effort, time, and emotions, and sometimes that is just what they need. Not only that, but anytime the recipient is feeling down and needs a reminder of how valued and incredible they are, they can reread your words and feel your love again. If you want to make it a little bit more personal you can learn how to make custom stationary  from Buzzfeed.

4. Talk frequently

Remember that funny meme that you saw yesterday with their favorite Pokémon in it? Send it to them! Saw a new limited edition of their favorite book? Call them and tell them where you saw it! By reaching out consistently, you show your family or friend that you care about them as a person, through the ups and the downs.

5. Plan an activity to do together

Have you ever found someone who always made you feel like you were valued? Chances are that they included you when planning for their future. Find a concert you both are interested in, plan a party to host together, sign up to learn a new skill, or plan a trip. Whatever it is, including them in your plans shows them you value them and want to be around them, whatever they are going through. Don’t know what to plan? Check out free things to do near you on Tripbuzz  for some great ideas.

We hope these ideas will help you feel a little closer to your loved ones far away. If you have other ideas we didn’t share, share them in the comments below!

Request Appointment

*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.