Supporting someone with a mental illness - At home
How do I encourage the person I care for to eat well and keep active?
Diet, exercise and staying active are important for everyone. Staying active, if you have a mental illness can be especially important. It can help improve mood and can help with some of the side effects that medication causes. You could try to invite the person you care to go for a walk, swim or to the gym. It can be helpful for you as well to have a routine of getting out and about.
If the person you care for can’t leave the house you can ask them to do cleaning around the house. They can help prepare for meals or do home exercises. You can get free exercises on the internet or borrow DVDs from your local library. They may not want to do these and find them boring, but it is important to have some routine and responsibilities during the day.
An unbalanced diet or eating too much or not enough can make getting better harder. You can ask your GP for a healthy diet plan which gives tips and recipe ideas to try out.
How can I support someone in the home?
If you live with someone you care for, you might find some of their behaviour difficult or challenging. They might stay in bed for long periods of the day, not wash regularly, smoke a lot or not take their medication. Setting out household rules that everyone agrees to can help. It can be hard to get this to work at first but it is important to not give up.
Some ideas could be that everyone:
- has to be out of bed by a certain time, for example 9.30am during the week and 11am on the weekend,
- must wash at least twice a week,
- is responsible for planning, shopping and preparing for meals,
- has to clean up after themselves, and
- has to do their own laundry and clean their room.
Everyone in the household should sign up to the agreements. You need to think about what will happen if people don’t follow the rules. It is important to stay calm but firm when you put the rules into effect and try to prevent arguments.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays