Perhaps your mental health is in a good place right now. That’s great news!
But there’s a good chance that other people around you aren’t doing so well. Perhaps they complain of feeling depressed, anxious, or panicky.
What can you do to help people in situations like these?
While you can’t always make them better, there are techniques that you can use to support them through a trying time.
What’s more, anyone can improve their skills to help others deal with mental health issues. The most effective remedy is often just a simple display of love and a listening ear.
- Ask Them If They Would Like You To Contact Someone
When somebody is going through a challenging period of mental health, it can be hard for them to muster the energy to do anything about their condition. Just the thought of picking up the phone and talking to a professional can be exhausting for them. Many want to avoid it, even if it could improve how they feel in the long-run.
Here’s where you can step in. You can get the ball rolling by just offering to contact a professional and make an appointment for them. Once the consultation is scheduled, it creates a focus for the day, and it makes it much more likely that they will get the help they need.
If you notice that their behavior has recently changed, perhaps they’re giving away possessions, don’t be afraid to ask them if they are thinking about harming themselves or others. If someone is experiencing suicidal ideation, ask if they’re thinking of harming themselves, which will likely catch them off guard. That’s not a question most people are willing to ask. However, it’s a question they may be waiting to be asked, too. For someone to open the door of conversation around the suicidal thoughts.
One valid concern people have about asking someone if they’re thinking about harming themselves is the thought that they may follow through if asked. If someone is already having those thoughts, you asking isn’t putting the idea in their head – it’s already there. But, what it does do is show that you’re willing to go there, to listen and support, because you’re asking that one question that’s not easy to ask.
- Educate Yourself
Sometimes, it can be hard to know what to do when somebody is in the throes of a mental health issue. If you don’t have the training, you often feel powerless.
Taking mental health first aid courses, however, could help. The idea here is to equip you with the skills you need to manage a crisis until the cavalry arrives – similar to what a paramedic does. When it comes to suicide prevention, there’s the QPR method, which also offers online training.
Knowing what strategies you should use is a massively empowering experience. Suddenly, you feel competent, like you can actually do something to assist people you care about.
- Listen Carefully
People going through mental health difficulties will often tell you the source of their problems. But a lot of the time, we have our ideas for what’s wrong.
Even if you think you’re right, it’s important to listen. Just feeling heard is often enough to rescue a lot of people from their darkest moods. Knowing that there’s somebody out there looking after their welfare is massively reassuring in itself.
Often, something has happened, asking the question: Was there anything, in particular, that happened that is causing these feelings?
- Understand When You Can’t Help
We each have our limits. Not everyone can be a trained psychotherapist or expert psychologist.
So when it comes to supporting someone with mental health issues, it’s critical to recognize that there’s a cap on what you can achieve. Yes, you can usually help a little bit. But you can’t erase problems that affect people at a deep level. That takes a lot of time and self-work on their part. It’s not part of your job description any more than it’s a part of mine. Even in grief recovery, it’s a self-discovery, inner-work process.
Mental health, just like the health of the rest of the body, is a long journey and one of self-discovery of what works and what doesn’t. The key is being open to possibility, surrounding oneself with support and accountability, and understanding it’s an evolutionary process. Also, challenging belief patterns that keep the cyclic pattern of behavior and thoughts repeating.
Sending you love + light today and always.
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