How To Support Someone With Mental Health Issues
A vast majority of society has struggled at one point with mental health issues. If you have ever been faced with the debilitating effects of depression and anxiety, you will know that it isn’t easy to cope with by yourself. Seeking professional help or confiding in someone you trust is a great way to deal with the symptoms of mental health issues.
But what if you are on the other side of the fence? If someone at work or in your family told you about their struggles with their mental health, how should you treat someone who opens up to you about their mental health issues?
Here are a few tips on how to best support someone who’s dealing with mental health issues.
Confidentiality and Respect
When someone confides in you, you must keep this information to yourself. If someone decided to reveal something really private like a mental health struggle with you, it means that they trust you. It’s your responsibility to respect their privacy by not sharing the information with co-workers or friends.
Depending on the situation, you can use your own discretion to find suitable professional help to assist the individual. When someone who has a mental illness trusts you, you should respect that trust that they’ve invested in you and not underestimate its power.
Chances are this person needs someone to talk to, desperately. Listen. Instead of bombarding them with advice and possible solutions, simply listen to what they have to say.
Being an ear for all their stories will help them vent, and in return, they will feel better. Give them a shoulder to cry on and be supportive without talking too much.
Someone who suffers from mental illness won’t be as efficient and energetic as others who don’t. Take on smaller tasks to help this person cope with the overwhelming feeling of life. Even if it’s just buying some groceries or cooking them a meal. Give them a chance to relax.
It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t enable them in their symptoms. If they want to sleep all-day or never get dressed, then you have to encourage them to get out of bed. Throwing the covers over them and drawing the curtains are only enabling them.
It’s a delicate balance, between taking away some of the pressure the person is feeling and still push them to take care of themselves. You shouldn’t take ver all their chores and daily responsibilities, but rather help them with little tasks to ease their struggle.
Get Them Out of The House
The best thing you can try and do for someone who is in a bad state of mental health is to encourage activity. If this person doesn’t want to be involved in an overly social event, then take them out on a one-on-one date.
Pick a spot that has natural surroundings and a calm, tranquil atmosphere. Try to get their mind off of their negative situation by introducing new topics or showing them exciting landmarks.
If they are willing to do some exercise, put on your trainers and go for a scenic walk somewhere nearby. Being active, as well as feeling the sun on your skin are proven to improve our mental state. Even a Short 20 minutes walk can make a difference.
Don’t Let It Affect Your Mental State
The most important part of letting someone with a mental health issue convey in you is not to adopt the same mental state. Remember that their mental health is still their responsibility. If you are not a certified psychologist or psychiatrist, then you can’t advise on complex mental health issues.
Give yourself some time away from this person to recharge without ignoring them. Being the support of someone who isn’t able to reciprocate any positive feelings can be damaging to your own mental well-being. It’s better to have an open communication channel where you don’t allow yourself to be drawn in too deep.
Suggest Professional Help
When your friend or colleague isn’t showing any signs of improvement after some time, you should advise them to seek professional help. Getting a phone number of a certified practitioner or driving them to the appointment is a great way to show support and help them overcome their mental health illness.
It’s never easy seeing someone close to you suffer from a debilitating mental health illness. Give support and try to understand their situation. Always remember that a professional therapist can give the best help.
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