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How can I help a person with mental illness improve his or her self-esteem?

After several years of illness, and even before that, many people with serious mental illness (SMI) lose their self-esteem when any efforts they make to secure a good future are dashed (e.g., inability to get or to keep a job).

In many cases SMI causes moderate or severe impairment, so that encouraging them to do small tasks around the home can help, both to raise esteem and build trust and a loving relationship. For example, you can ask the person to help shop for and carry home groceries. Gardening is another pleasant activity to share. Versions of activities the person used to do before getting sick can also be considered, so long as they are not too demanding. Do not be annoyed if they are not done as well as you had hoped.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.