Have you noticed signs of mental health issues in a friend or family member and have been thinking about how to help?
Starting a conversation about a person’s mental health can be nerve-racking — but also the most important step when trying to help the person get better.
So here are some ways you can help someone struggling with their mental health.
- Get information
The first thing to do when trying to help is to educate yourself on mental health. Read up on the person’s issue, symptoms, treatment, myths, and every other important information.
The more you understand what the person is going through, the better you will be able to give informed suggestions and help them.
Also, ensure to get information from reliable sources.
- Listen non-judgmentally
Offering your listening ear to a loved one battling mental health issues is one of the best assistance you can give them.
Start a conversation about how they feel and hear them talk with an open mind and empathy.
Let all your verbal and non-verbal skills comfort them and show them you’re there when they need someone to talk to. By doing this, the person will feel more relieved, relaxed, and less overwhelmed.
- Show up
People who struggle mentally tend to feel lonely, withdraw from loved ones, and even forget they have people who love them.
So now is the time to stay connected with them and remind them that you love, and care for them and that you are there for them.
Always check on them regularly through calls, random visits, texts, or emails even when they aren’t reciprocating.
Even activities that don’t require lots of energy and socialization like strolling can help them feel included and less alone.
- Give reassurance
Giving encouraging and reassuring words can reduce stress levels. You don’t need to say anything fancy really just practice a few simple, gentle statements.
Statements like “I’m sorry you feel bad and I want to help, “I may not understand how you’re feeling, but you’re not alone” and ” Hang in there because you’ll feel better soon.”
And avoid statements like “But you have a great life, you always seem so happy”, “Snap out of it”, and “Everyone is a little moody sometimes, it’s normal”.
- Be patient
Supporting someone who is struggling mentally might not be the easiest task but you have to be patient.
While trying to get more details about their feelings, they might not be willing to talk. Don’t try to force words out of them but be patient and make them set the pace themselves.
When you already know how they feel and are supporting them but can’t see any progress, please don’t give up. Just be present and patient through the journey.
Remember, things will get better with time and people with mental illness are fully capable of living happy lives.
- Resume the regular routine
Avoid letting life and discussion revolve around only the person’s mental health condition.
Encourage starting the regular routine of the person. Help the person engage in activities not related to mental health as this will help take their mind off their struggle.
- Encourage them to seek professional help
Practically speaking, you can’t help a person get through mental health struggle alone.
Mental health experts are needed to identify and create a treatment plan for the issue. So try encouraging the person to seek help.
Some people might lack the motivation to take this step or may not feel well enough to do so. That is where you offer to help.
Offer to help book their appointment, reach out to potential therapists, and go with them to their first and subsequent appointment.
Supporting someone with mental health can be exhausting and time-consuming. This can make it hard to even care about yourself and your health.
However, remember that to best support your loved one, you must be strong and actively present. So make sure to make time for yourself, relax, and recuperate.
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