Mental health has a cloud of stigma around it. People are usually apprehensive while discussing their experiences as they want to avoid getting judged or belittled by others. However, mental health issues are a serious matter.
We all go through tough times, and some of us have a harder time coping with the calamities of life compared to others. You must understand that feeling anxious is normal. But it can be problematic if anxiety and stress levels are high and depressive episodes are frequent.
Whether the person experiencing mental health issues is your friend, family member, or colleague, there are always ways to support someone struggling with their mental health.
8 Tips For Helping Someone With Mental Health Issues
If you’d like to get to the core of your loved one’s mental health issues and not just watch them mask symptoms with cannabis or another substance, here are some ways you can help them out.
1. Get professional help
It is good to be willing to help someone you care about navigate mental health problems. However, some conditions like PTSD and SAD may require professional intervention. Contact a rehab center for medical care if you realize your help alone isn’t enough. You can look up rehab centers in your vicinity and review common admissions information before signing up the patient for a program. Depending on the patient’s condition, mental health professionals will tailor a treatment plan best suited for the patient.
2. Keep an open-mind
Keeping your mind open to the possibility is always helpful. Let the person struggling with an issue know you are available and that they have your unconditional love and support. Barbara L. Ponieman, in her interview with Dianova, stated, “It is essential that families maintain an open mind that can be helpful towards individuals.” Empathy allows you to connect with people suffering from mental issues.
3. Ask questions
Your loved ones might not always be forthcoming about their mental health struggles. They may not expect you to already understand what they are going through. Expressing concern is the best route to get someone to open up. So ask questions. Ask them how they feel and what’s bothering them. This will allow them to open up to you and share their problems.
However, try not to be too intrusive when asking questions. You should set some boundaries and stop being persistent if you notice they’re becoming uncomfortable.
4. Give space and try to keep a neutral mind
Mental health patients often face a lot of judgment because of their drastic behavioral changes. Therefore, avoid being too judgmental with them. For example, someone struggling with self-esteem issues and underlying depression might not be so forthcoming about what’s making them feel the way they are.
Giving them the space and understanding that they will share too much or too little, or even both, could fluctuate with every interaction. Their thoughts and words may sometimes come across as disturbing or even disrespectful to you. It’s important to realize that they’re only expressing themselves in hopes you can help, so hear them out.
5. Create awareness
Lack of awareness can prove detrimental in most situations. It is important to seek information and learn about the problems your loved one is dealing with. This helps in figuring out what the best action plan could be when it comes to navigating how you deal with someone who’s experiencing mental health issues.
Don’t try to diagnose the person unless you’re qualified. Just because a quick Google search suggests a specific illness doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Having know-how helps, but understand that it’s not enough to replace a medical professional’s opinion.
6. Help them out
Depression and related mental health conditions prevent people from doing regular tasks daily and efficiently. The person may need your help with managing daily chores around the house or even being motivated to step out of their comfort zone and take steps to improve their mental well-being.
So offer as much help as you can. Help them out with work around the house, take them to their therapist’s appointments, and help them establish a healthy routine for themselves. This can have a profound impact on alleviating their sadness.
7. Monitor your health
It’s normal to develop a sense of responsibility when helping someone with anything, let alone something as crucial as mental health. Being too close to such a situation can overwhelm your physical and mental health.
Keep yourself in check and recognize how far you can push yourself for someone without breaking apart. Keep your moods in check, and see if you aren’t exhibiting similar behaviors yourself.
8. Be patient
The road to betterment isn’t always smooth. It requires persistence, patience, and love. The person struggling with mental health issues might disappoint you a lot of times even after you feel you went out of your way to make things easier for them. Your support isn’t unappreciated or futile. On the contrary, it is probably the reason they’ve got as far as they have.
If you feel your prolonged efforts haven’t made a difference in a long time, maybe consider a change in strategy. Be there for them, even if you think it’s a slow process.
Having a supportive community plays a crucial role in improving overall mental well-being. For instance, everyone can make a great difference by lending an ear to listen. However, there’s only so much you can do for people during their road to recovery.
Use the tips mentioned above to help someone close to you open up about and overcome their mental health problems. Get them to seek professional help if matters escalate beyond your knowledge and skills.