Thursday, May 26, 2016
Can Volunteers help a Mentally Ill Person Get Better?
Have you ever said, "Oh, I can't do anything to help Mary. I'm not a Psychologist or Doctor". It is pretty commonly said!
Over the last year I have been training volunteers how to support needy inner city teenagers. During the feedback discussions I heard a lot of them say, "Oh, my student has some bad problems. I am not a Therapist so I can't really help him".
Where did these wonderful, caring and talented people get such an idea? It probably comes from Professional Therapists like me. But it is dead wrong!!!
One of the greatest barriers to supporting family and friends with a mental/emotional problem is a sense of helplessness. But study after study shows that friends, family and other volunteers can be amazingly therapeutic of healing. All it takes is time, patience and patience.
Friends can support and assist in the growth and healing of everyone in need regardless of the depth of that need. All we need to do is listen, with Genuine compassion, show Respect for their ideas and feelings, be Empathic by picking up their thoughts and feelings while being Warm and caring. (GREW).
Research shows that simply asking volunteers to be friends for only one year to people with the most serious mental illness diagnoses can lower their sickness symptoms significantly. This is why we equip thousands of people to "BEFRIEND" people in pain of any sort.
To BEFRIENDING we, of course add prayers, worship together, encouragement, deep listening, ETC. Lay People can have a very powerful and positive impact on those with emotional distress.
Listen, care, and offer little if any advice. God takes care of the advice.
Support our work with families with a member who has a serious disability. Go here.