Supporting somebody with mental health problems

Mental health problems are something that are so underrepresented in our society; there are many issues with the ways in which we view mental illness and particularly how we attempt to cure it.

I’m not here to tell you how to live your life or provide you with some miracle cure – as much as I wish I could. However I thought – particularly on World Mental Health Day, it would be a good idea to write about supporting somebody with mental health issues. It’s widely known that mental health problems affect one in four people – so I think we should be raising awareness so that we can all offer support for people affected by this.

Listen – but allow them to share as much or as little as they’d like:

Never underestimate the power of listening, often getting out feelings or providing somebody with an outlet for their thoughts can make a world of difference. It’s important however to remember not to push anybody for information or ask them anything they’re uncomfortable answering.

Don’t try and diagnose: 

Naturally it’s easy to form an opinion, particularly if you have knowledge in the area but unofficial diagnosis can be damaging so it’s probably best to steer clear from doing so where possible.

Equally as important, don’t doubt or hesitate about what anybody is saying:

Questioning a person’s honesty is never good – particularly if they’re struggling.

Discuss wellbeing and helpful methods of staying positive:

Sharing ideas for maintaining a happy and healthy mindset can go a long way! If you have suggestions for wellbeing techniques then share them, they may provide someone with help when they need it most.

Try not to make assumptions:

Similarly to diagnosis, it’s important not to make assumptions about the cause of any mental health issues or what will help somebody to overcome them.

Be Patient:

Be patient and remember that this is like any other illness and takes time to heal. Never use the words ‘mind over matter’ or anything even slightly similar. 

Keep social contact: 

Even if somebody is shutting you out or finding it hard to keep in touch, try your best to remind them that you’re there whenever they need you.

Just be there: 

Sometimes everybody just needs someone to be there. Don’t worry about saying or doing the right thing – just be around, whether that’s sitting in silence together or being on the end of the phone. Make it known that you’re there for support whenever it’s needed.

When writing this I found these resources particularly helpful and feel as though they can help others too – head to Mind, the Mental Health Foundation or ReThink if you want to find out more.

If you’re struggling with a mental health illness, I hope you can find comfort in the knowledge that there is always somebody to turn to. I think I speak for many people when I say that I am always available for a chat, whether we are best friends, complete strangers or simply acquaintances – nobody deserves to suffer in silence and I will make every effort I can to make every single person on this planet feel hopeful and loved.

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