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Experts advise on how to help your loved ones through a mental illness

In the wake of Kate Spade’s death, local mental health professionals are commenting on how you can help your loved one through a mental illness. (MGN)

In the wake of Kate Spade’s death, local mental health professionals are commenting on how you can help your loved one through a mental illness.

Experts say the biggest thing is letting your loved ones know that you are there for them and consistently showing that through your actions.

“Kelly” is the lifeline on the other end of the phone of the 211 Hotline when someone feels like taking their life.

“We are a safe place to call,” says Kelly, who is not able to provide her real name.

She says for many of her callers, mental illness is too hard to talk about with family or friends.

In fact, she says stigma surrounding mental illness can cause people to make the final decision they can’t take back: suicide.

“That’s what we have to work past so people feel comfortable confiding in the people that love them,” says Kelly.

Seth Bernstein is the vice president of community investments at United Way of Palm Beach County.

He helps fund the 211 hotline so people in mental crisis never need to feel alone.

But he says the hotline can’t do it alone. If your loved one suffers from mental illness, you need to reach out too.

“It’s very important to always be present listen to them and show them they care and tell them they can get help,” says Bernstein.

That means encouraging them to get professional help even if you get push back.

“They should keep continuing to help the person they love,” says Bernstein.

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