World Mental Health Day is observed to highlight the various issues that those suffering from the disease face, such as social stigma and a lack of understanding. The day is observed to highlight the importance of early detection and treatment of mental illness.
It is good that we talk about it and celebrate it every year. But people who suffer from chronic mental health issues and problems need more than this.
They need you to understand that they don’t have a choice! They just cannot snap out of a mental health condition like a scene from a movie!
It takes a lot of courage to live and handle themselves, unlike other people.
They cannot simply forget about it, nor can they simply relax.
And they know that they can do it, but they’re helpless some days.
So, mental health care is a never-ending process. It has to be a part of your daily routine. You cannot just go to the gym one day and expect abs. Similarly, taking care of yourself and motivating yourself every day is a conscious choice.
I have posts on my website on how to take care of your mental health. You can check them out.
But today, on World Mental Health Day, we’ll talk about how you can be of help to someone who is struggling with any form of mental health issue.
1. Be non-judgemental (no matter what)
If somebody is opening up to you about their issues, especially mental health ones, know that it’s really difficult for them to do so. Hence, give them a space that is free from judgement.
2. Practice active listening
When people are going through something, let them talk if they say they want to. You don’t jump in and start giving advice. They need a space to be heard.
If there is anything noble you want to do for anyone, give them space to talk while you listen attentively.
Practice listening without interrupting someone. This is the best gift you can give to someone with an unsettled mind!
3. Provide emotional support (without overburdening yourself)
Providing emotional support in times of need can significantly strengthen relationships and bonds. So, just for once, be there for someone else without expecting anything in return.
Provide your love and care to someone who is going through a rough time. You never know how much those few minutes could mean to that person!
4. Encourage them to see a professional
People can go through a lot of issues in their daily lives- parental discord, toxic family dynamics, work-related stress, a breakup, and so on. When they’re not getting better on their own and with the help of their loved ones, it is imperative that they seek professional help. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help when feeling helpless. So, you can motivate them to go to a professional and see if that works.
People think of counselling and therapy as a life-long process. But in reality, most people see results within 3-6 sessions (could be more/less depending on the issue). Hence, try that out!
5. Don’t trivialize someone’s pain
Just because you are not going through something bad at the moment, don’t tell the other person, who is in fact suffering – it’s no big deal. The worst thing you can say to someone with a mental health issue is: “This happens to everyone; you will get over it.”
It is as good as saying that their issues and problems are not important.
You have no right to do that! In any case, if you can’t help or listen to their issues, tell them that honestly. But please don’t tell them how they should feel.
You cannot control that! Each of us processes, copes, and deals with mental health issues differently. Therefore, keep an open mind.
6. Try to keep things confidential
You’re not a therapist (I get it), but it is an amazing quality to have when you do not spill secrets that somebody might have told you about their mental health.
If someone is trusting you with their emotions, respect and value that.
These are just a few reminders you can keep in mind while trying to help someone struggling with their mental health! Hope you find these useful.
Happy World Mental Health Day!