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. In this case, you may take advantage of solutions that can help you beat the stigma and find a therapist who fits the needs and goals of your loved ones struggling with mental health problems.
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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