Helping People Around You With Mental Health Problems
Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I would share some posts on mental health. I wanted to start with a post about how to help people around you with mental health problems because I know sometimes you may want to help someone but don’t know how. Mental health problems can be difficult to handle and helping someone whit mental health issues can be tricky because you may end up doing more harm than good.
As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, I know first hand that sometimes people trying to be there for you can cause more trouble than good simply because they don’t know any better. Which isn’t even necessarily their fault since there is significantly less information available for mental health issues than physical ones.
Here are some tips on how to help people with mental health problems:
Shut Up And Listen
Sometimes, it just helps to know you have someone who will listen to you without judging or trying to fix you/your illness. A lot of times, people with mental health issues will have a hard time talking about it openly and having someone who will listen and make you feel safe goes a long way.
Don’t try to help unless they ask you to help. Instead, just listen and be present. And unless they specifically ask for your opinion or for help try to keep it to yourself because your “help” may not be as helpful to them as you think it is.
Every Single Person Is Different
Every single person is unique and every person with mental health problems has different experiences. Some people may have similar experiences but that does not mean they are the same. So try to refrain from comparing their experience to another persons experience.
Also, try not to be judgemental about how they are choosing to handle their mental health. I have noticed a lot of judgement especially online with people really judging others about how they choose to deal with their mental illnesses. Just because something works for you does not mean it will work for everyone. If you think medication is the best route, that’s great for you but it may not be for everyone. Some people suffer serious side effects and others just don’t feel comfortable with medication. That was my experience and that is why I chose to go the natural route which has been much better for me. On the other hand, the natural route isn’t for everyone and some people may not feel better using natural ways to deal with their mental health problem. They may choose to take medication for it and that’s totally okay too. Again, people are different and they should try all the routes and see what can help them the most and stick with that.
Know Your Stuff
If someone close to you has confided in you that they have a mental illness try to do some research about it and know what it is, what the symptoms are and more. That way you will have at least some idea of what they are going through. It also feels great knowing that someone that cares about you took the time to do their research and understand your illness.
Help Them Seek Help
Unfortunately, not everyone who has a mental illness is in a place to seek help for themselves even though they may need it. I always recommend seeing a profession at least once if you feel you are suffering from a mental health problem. However, some people have such harsh symptoms that they may not realise they need help or will be unable to seek help even if they do know they need it.
If you feel someone needs help please encourage them to get it. Do some research and try to find professionals in your area that could help. If you think they are a danger to themselves or those around them please contact a helpline immediately.
If you’re reading a post like this one hoping to help someone in your life, that’s already a huge step in the right direction. It’s not easy to help someone with a mental health illness but it’s also important to be there for them. I hope this post has helped give you some pointers on how you can do that.
What are some things that you find have helped people around you? Let me know in the comments below.
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52 thoughts on “How To Help People Around You With Mental Health Problems”
It’s a thought-provoking post, mental illness is a rising issue in today’s world. As you said ‘Every person is different ‘ is completely true. We have to find a way to make ourselves happy and healthy. I have also covered a detailed article on mental health. Hope you will find it worth it.
Thank you for sharing ❤
Thank you so much and I’ll definitely check it out. 🙂
It will be my honor.
It is a really tough gig to support others through mental illness. Kudos to all that do it successfully.
It definitely is incredibly difficult and those that do support them successfully are truly a blessing.
I, too, suffer from depression (and anxiety). I just want to say thank you for your post! It’s nice to see someone else sharing about such an important topic! I’ll add a link to this post in one I did on the topic! Thanks again!
Thank you so much! Happy to share it and I know how you feel. It’s always great to know you are not alone. I always like sharing mental health posts so people know that and feel like it’ll be okay.
I personally think that listening to people more and making them feel comfortable instead of judging them for the most trivial things is a skill everyone should have. Even if you don’t think the person is struggling, it would make the world a better place and people might not get these mental illnesses to a severe extent, knowing that they are valued and heard.
Yes I absolutely agree. It’s an important skill to have even in general. All of us are unique and it’s not our place to judge anyone or their journey. Feeling heard and not feeling judged would truly save so many from mental issues.
Physical illness can be seen, but mental illness can’t be seen. You don’t know what is going inside of someone and what they are going through.
Yes that is so true. It’s much more difficult to diagnose for this reason too.
Such an important post Pooja.
Don’t try to help unless they ask you to help. Instead, just listen and be present. And unless they specifically ask for your opinion or for help try to keep it to yourself because your “help” may not be as helpful to them as you think it is.”
Thank you so much! Yes, listening instead of judging is a big part of helping for sure 💕
Love all of these! I would add having boundaries too. It’s important to have them and also you can teach them too about boundaries
Thanks! Yes absolutely. Boundaries are vital for both the person with mental health problems and those around them.
Was talking with a cousin today. She is a nurse. The thing that most people seem to forget is that natural alternatives are also the precurser to drugs. You are medicating. Whether doctor prescribes or not, it is a medication of sorts. Just an observation anyway. We were talking about if from another viewpoint. Treatment that works for the person is indeed the important thing. Hope this is of use.
I definitely get what you mean but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I look at it as you are trying to reduce or deal with your symptoms one way or the other whether using medication or other methods. Things like yoga, meditation or exercise are not things I think of as medication but rather helpful ways to deal with the symptoms of my mental health problems. But yes finding treatment that works is definitely the most important thing for sure. Yes, as always your comment is appreciated 😄
I wasn’t referring to yoga etc. I was referring to alternative treatment…eg CBD oil. It is medication. Just because it’s natural…anything you put into your body to try to treat things … herbals etc is a type of medication and was originally a medicine of sorts.
Ah okay gotcha! Yeah I agree those would be like a form of medication.
I suffered from a depression. Since I have a new psychiatrist who actually listens to me and prescribes better medication than her predecessor. I feel a lot better. Listening is very important.
I’m so glad you found a better psychiatrist. It’s important to find someone who actually listens and surprisingly not a lot of professionals do. I switched quite a few since a number of them didn’t work well for me and I felt like I was not able to talk to them.
I hope you find relief from your problems.
I wanted to ask what methods did you find the most useful to overcome anxiety and depression?
Great post, keep up the good work 👍
Thank you so much. I actually have posts about both you can check out. It would be easier than me explaining in a super long comment lol.
Listening is always a great first step. Be encouraging and always ready to hug.
Managing mental health while being available for others is a tough job.
Self awareness is the first step, and I appreciate these category of posts because they help others. It can take a long time to find out the steps you need yourself to manage your own mix of conditions. There is no better time to start than today…
I like that you said that no one approach works for everyone. Sometimes one prescription is what it takes for one person, and for another, natural methods.
If there was one piece of advice I’d give to someone struggling, it’s to not give up. Especially with depression, it feels like there is no hope that life can change. That’s not true. It’s simply depression lying to you, attacking at your weaknesses since it knows them. It is part of you, after all. But it doesn’t know everything, because it is yourself, and we’re all human. No human knows everything since the world is so huge. Nobody knows all there is to know.
Don’t let it win. There is hope, and you aren’t suffering alone. I know because I’ve been there. Sometimes, it’s one 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day at a time. It’s okay to say Fuck you depression. It’s okay to challenge anxiety by questioning that thought. Life can get better… If nothing else to say to your mental health conditions, I won today!
Thanks. Yeah I absolutely agree with that so much. Depression really kind of suffocates you and you feel like things will never get better but the best way to beat it is to not believe that and keep going. Counting the wins when you feel down helps a lot too!
Hope that reply wasn’t too long… I woke up and felt anxious that maybe it was. It felt nice to connect so much to your experiences in the post and I was excited that you got what it feels like. (then realized, that oh yeah, others suffer from this too.)
Like you say, keep going despite it!
Not at all. I liked the long comment because I could really relate to what you were saying too. I know lots of people get it but it just feels awesome to connect one on one or I guess speak to someone about it.
Yup always keep fighting!
Mental health is ill discussed and rarely treated in many countries, including India, due to an acute shortage of mental health staff (psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, nurses and paramedics). Stigma is also burden on the family, especially if the patient or immediate family are in the marriageable age. Thanks for the post.
Yeah a lot of countries don’t have a lot of treatment or professionals available for mental health patients. It can be difficult to get help. Yes it can be difficult for everyone around the patient too.
This is educative, they need to be loved and supported. Listening, helping to seek help and every single person is different are all good points that can assist an individual with mental health.
Thank you so much and glad you agree.
The points you have listed I found to be the most helpful ones, too, Pooja.
I particularly like how you point out the importance of listening to the other as well as the fact that everyone is different. Personally, I find it more important to help each other in finding what works for each of us rather than revelling in a false feeling of safety by insisting on some idea of conformity that tries to fit everyone into the same box.
In fact, I believe if we could integrate those two points into our lives more – also on a societal level – it would increase the general level of mental health significantly.
Thanks so much. I absolutely agree. We should help each other find the perfect way to help our mental health. It helps a lot to listen to those around us and explore. Yes that would really help society as a whole.
When I need help with my anxiety, a friend of mine helps me ground myself by asking me questions that force me to observe my anxiety more objectively.
That’s really great. Glad you have someone to do that because thinking of things more rationally when you’re anxious does help a lot.
Just so damn relatable !!
Very informative and guiding post Pooja!
I’m saving it, so that I can help someone in need. This post will be a reminder.
I once suffered from depression in 2019 and that made me very silent. I do not even like to talk to my family. Used to live alone and cry very easily. I felt very lonely and no one was there to listen to me. My parents told me it’s depression. But I deny it as I thought how could I be depressed. Few things like anime helped me out of it. It may sound funny, but it was my solace back then, and still is. These days, I’m at good emotional state. I’ve involved books, blogging, workout in my life and seeing good changes.
My friend is suffering from depression due to martial issues. 2021 was very bad for him (and he’s still depressed due to unsolved issue).
That time I was his therapist. I do not have professional knowledge. But I feel that, person needs someone to talk to. I spend endless hours, just listening him. I guess a person suffering from depression needs a shoulder to cry upon.
Sorry for this long comment.
I think most of us have dealt with depression at some point and I’m really glad you were able to bounce back from yours. The little things really do help more than we realise.
It’s sad that your friend is dealing with those issues but wonderful that he has someone like you to lean on. Being there and just listening makes a huge difference for people,
I just wanted to ask if it’s okay to not talk to him sometimes?
Because I feel like I get surrounding with the negativity!
Irl, I’m very happy person, I’m shy and Like to be at home, but a happy person. Negative energy doesn’t bother me much. But overdose could be harmful. I’ve talked to him for hours but then I’m not professional. I cannot help him beyond my limits.
Yes, it’s absolutely okay to take breaks where you don’t respond to him. At the end of the day you aren’t his therapist and it’s not your job to constantly talk to him. You also have to protect yourself and your mental health. Definitely be there for him but also set boundaries and know your limits.
Thanks for guiding me
Happy to help.