Mental illness is a condition that affects your life. “Mental health affects your heart, mental health effects your sleep. It’s all interconnected.” according to Tracy Cohn, professor of psychology at Radford University. It is one of the reasons why you tend to feel different most of the times. It is very complicated even to understand it as a whole. There are moments that no one can create an apparent assumption as to what is happening to you. With that, people, such as friends and family, try and do their best to make you feel better. But what if the situation is different? What if instead of you experiencing a psychological problem, someone dear to you gets to suffer from it? Will you be able to know what to do to assist them? Here is some of a therapist’s advice in helping those people in your life with mental health issues.
Just Be A Good Friend
It doesn’t matter whether it is a close friend, relatives, or co-worker. Being a friend to these people in times of need is exceptional. By calling, texting, and checking they if they are okay will mean so much to them. “Sometimes the friends that need us most don’t reach out, feeling ashamed that they’re having a hard time. Don’t assume your friend will reach out if they need you, and make a point of checking on them,” says Alicia H. Clark, PsyD. You don’t necessarily have to do anything extreme or overboard only to let them know you care. You don’t need to remind them to take their medicines and attend their therapy session. Of course, they already know that. You don’t have to force your loved ones to do anything to allow themselves to feel better. A simple way of showing that your friends and family can count on you is more than enough. In some cases, just being there and listening to what they want to say means everything.
Let Them Feel Comfortable
You see, one of the biggest mistakes you may unnoticingly do when trying to help someone with mental illness is trying to assist them without their consent. Yes, you are concerned, and perhaps you want to do something to make them feel better. But if they are not asking and unwilling, it may create a gap. Understandably, your intentions are good, but that will not secure a healthy communication. Instead of being pushy, allow these people to feel comfortable with you. Give them time to open things up. Because even if you think they are stubborn and unwilling to get better, eventually they will crack and will need your help.
It is vital to remember that every individual’s mental condition is different, and so as their needs. You cannot apply the same rule and method from one person to another. Everybody needs different attention, care, and assistance. According to Erika Wight, PsyD, “I believe that everyone is different. No treatment experience is exactly the same.” Everyone experience various depressive symptoms. Some may get super irritable, and some feel exhausted and sluggish. Just do your best to understand what they are going through. But if the situation is still challenging, learn to ask politely. Never assume that you know how these people feel so you won’t make a couple of wrong decision in trying to help them. Because you will never know what they are going through unless things are well-explained.
When family or friends are going through depression, expect that their behavior is something you might be able to handle. That is because their way of thinking will more likely become different from the usual. You might complain and say that “they’re not the same person anymore.” But instead of thinking that way, you need to educate yourself about their condition. Avoid judging their actions just because you don’t find them responding to you. Know how they feel, and find out what makes them sad, angry, irritable, or whatever emotions they may have. That way, you can make the right adjustments that both you and your loved ones need.
Help As Much As You Can
There are endless ways to help someone with mental health. There is no specific thing to do, aside from understanding the situation. Because when you know the right words to say, these people can feel comfortable. When you educate yourself with different mental illnesses, you can identify the symptoms quickly. And when you do not assume to know how people think, you can be a great asset in for their recovery path. Every little thing you will do will become valued and appreciated. But always be mindful not to allow yourself become unprepared. You need to get ready for the emotional and mental altercation you might experience as well.
Your role as a friend, co-worker, and a family member means so much to those people who are mentally and emotionally unstable. So always make sure you give your best in helping them in whatever circumstances there may be.