In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. This means that yourself, a friend or family member could be one of those six. It’s really important that we begin and continue to understand mental health as the more we understand it, the less of a stigma it will hold.
I got told recently that “I didn’t realise anxiety was an actual thing until I experienced it for myself”. This is what we need to change, we need people to understand but also to be able to help a friend, family member or work mate when they need it.
So here are a few ways you can offer support:
1. Listen – Listening is really important. Sometimes the person may not even be able to express themselves as they don’t know what’s going on. Just take time even if it’s 5 minutes to show that you are there as a listening ear. You don’t have to have the answers or give advice they’ll appreciate just knowing that you are there.
2. Talk – Moving on from listening, sometimes talking wether talking about how they feel or about something completely random to distract them from their thoughts.
3. Keep in touch – This might be a little text or just in the world of fb tagging them in a cute/funny video. I personally love cute dog videos but each to their own! Honestly though, sometimes on bad days, I find it difficult to text people. So even just a text so they know you’re thinking of them makes a huge difference.
4. Do not believe Fake News – Yes I said it. So in today’s lovely, delightful news world (a girl can dream right?) we have this lovely way of portraying mental health. Please please do not believe everything you see and hear, there are a load of made up things which get passed around. If you are unsure look it up, there isn’t anything shameful at all and in fact you’ll be helping your friend by being able to understand more.
5. Respect their bravery- It is so hard to speak out about how you are feeling. I felt like I would be judged, would lose friends over it and just scared how people would react. It takes a lot to stand and say “I’m suffering with a mental health problem” so when someone does come to you please respect their bravery!
6. Look after yourself- Okay so this may seem like a strange one but you can’t help someone if you feeling overwhelmed or stressed yourself. You can’t pour from a jug when it’s empty so it’s important to make sure you are okay first.
Remember though everyone copes differently, so I hope these tips are something you can refer back to if you aren’t sure what to do or how to help.
Image from Healthy Place