Mental health issues affect roughly one in four people, so there is a high chance that someone close to you is living with one or more conditions ranging from depression to anxiety, schizophrenia to PTSD, BPD and many many more.
It can be difficult to watch our loved ones struggle with their mental health, but there are a few things you can do to help them.
Educate Yourself About Mental Health
“Knowledge is power” – Francis Bacon
Living with mental health conditions can be exhausting. If someone close to you is part of the 1 in 4, take the time to educate yourself on what they are going through.
Taking the time to look at a condition can help you understand behaviours and actions. For example, someone with depression may pull out of social events a lot and become distant from friends.
Someone with bipolar or BPD may explode in anger at the smallest event or seemingly try pushing against a relationship
Arming yourself with knowledge gives you the chance to offer support to that person in your life when they need it. You may also use this information to identify behaviours and how they affect a person in a positive/negative way allowing you to help create an accommodating space for that individual.
Offer a Listening Ear
Something as simple as listening is crucial to assisting with a person’s mental health. There is stigma attached to mental health issues which leaves many to suffer in silence out of shame or fear of judgement.
Offering someone the chance to voice what they are going through allows them to process what is going on mentally.
More importantly, giving someone a safe space to speak through how they are shows them that they are not suffering alone. When faced with an issue, the human reaction is to fight or flight. This is known as “the fight or flight response”.
Giving someone the opportunity to speak through their experiences allows that person to arm themselves with what they need mentally to “fight” their mental health condition rather than “flight” and ignore what is going on.
Find Your Community
Mental health issues and conditions like to make someone feel isolated and alone when that is far from the truth.
No matter the condition a person is experiencing there will be a community or group that is going through the same thing whether individually or as a group.
Social media and the online world now means that anything can be found at the touch of a button including support groups, discussions, gatherings, and events. We just need to make sure that engaging with communities that make us feel better and not worse.
If you are looking to support someone with mental health issues I’d join as many groups as possible – remember what we said about education? This allows you to find tips, tricks, and ideas from other people in the same boat as you.
Quite literally go out into the community too. The world is a big place and your local area may have sessions or activities that could be of benefit to yourself or that person in your life.
Looking for some more pearls of wisdom? Take a look at the Stronger Minds blog which is jam-packed with helpful titbits of information dedicated to all things mental health related.