How To Rebuild Relationships That Are Damaged By Mental Health Issues

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Serious mental health problems can have a big impact on your relationships with friends and family. The stigma attached to the illness is a common problem. This can mean that one person doesn’t want to talk about their feelings, or they’re ashamed of what’s going on for them. The people who care about them might not understand how to support them, and they can end up feeling alone, isolated, and sometimes even more unhappy. 

When friends and family don’t understand why you are withdrawing from them, it can lead to arguments. Some mental health problems also cause mood swings and anger outbursts that damage relationships. In some cases, problems like addiction might even lead to criminal behavior. 

All too often, people with serious mental health conditions find their relationships with family and friends damaged. As they get better and start overcoming some of those challenges, it’s important to start rebuilding those relationships. Unfortunately, that can be difficult because trust has been eroded and people may not be receptive, especially if they have seen the same pattern of negative behavior over and over again. 

If you are in the process of dealing with your own mental health issues, here are some ways that you can rebuild relationships with friends and family. 

Prove You Are Serious About Getting Better

One of the first things you need to do is show that you are serious about getting better. You can start by finding a mental health care professional and sticking with your treatment plan, even if it’s tough or frustrating. If you have issues with addiction, it is especially important that you find treatment and attend some kind of rehab program. Remember, the people around you have heard endless promises that you will change your behavior and things will be better in the future, only to feel let down again. You can’t expect them to trust you right away, even if you are more serious this time. 


It will take time before people understand that you are making progress with your mental health and things are going to improve, so be patient. Don’t expect things to get fixed right away and just focus on yourself for a while. When you start making serious improvements, the people around you will see that you are dedicated to your recovery and this time things will be different.

Try To Explain Your Mental Health Issues

It might seem like nobody cares about your issues with mental health, or that they can’t understand what you are going through. They just want the old you back and they get frustrated that you aren’t able to get better, so why bother telling them? 

You might be surprised how much support there is if you explain what’s going on. The truth is it’s not always easy for people to understand mental health problems, and this is why arguments happen. When you are first diagnosed with a mental health issue it can be empowering because you finally understand where the problems are coming from. If you explain to people and answer their questions and concerns, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable, it will help them understand better and feel more connected with you. They’ll appreciate having this information because it will make it easier to understand why your behavior is different. Once they understand how you feel and what makes you act the way that you do, it will be easier for them to let go of their anger and start building a relationship with you again. 

Accept Responsibility For The Mistakes You Made

Although it’s important to explain your mental health issues, you also need to take responsibility for the mistakes you have made in the past. 

People know that they can’t just ignore all your mistakes and expect you to suddenly be a great person. They don’t expect perfection, but they do want some kind of sign that you understand what you did and it will never happen again. 

Try apologizing for things that you have done wrong and explaining how you feel about them. Don’t go on and on, or blame other people — just say sorry and let your friend or family member decide how they feel about the apology without pressuring them. People often make the mistake of trying to alleviate themselves of blame and put it all down to their mental health problems. But even though it is true that your health problems are largely to blame, people will struggle to move forward if you don’t show that you can accept responsibility.

Take Things Slowly

It’s important to try and rebuild your relationships with friends and family, but this doesn’t mean you need to go back to how things were before. People around you might think that they can act like nothing ever happened or expect you to be the person they loved again right away, but it takes time. 

It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re doing all of the right things but people don’t want to hear your apologies. The thing is, you have to see it from their point of view. If they have been constantly hurt by your behavior, they are cautious about giving you another chance and they don’t want to rush into anything. So, take it slowly and let people do things at their own pace. 

Pushing people to move too quickly will only alienate them further, so avoid the temptation to keep contacting people over and over. Instead, you should reach out to them and let them know you are open to rebuilding your relationship, and then leave the ball in their court. If people can contact you when they want to without any pressure, you stand a much better chance of rebuilding your relationship. 

Mental health problems have a huge impact on the people around you and they can do some serious damage to relationships with friends and family. If you are on a journey to improve your mental health and overcome your problems, you should think about your relationships with friends and family. As long as you follow these steps, you can start repairing the bridges that were damaged by your mental health problems, and this will make it easier for you to get better. 


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