Mental health is a subject that is gaining more attention and prominence in the nations psyche. People from all sections of our society have opened up about their mental health issues, this includes members of the Royal family, that stalwart of the British stiff upper lip!
It is important to provide an open and non-judgmental space with no distractions, give them your full attention. Provide them with true and genuine concern. Share and listen.
Let them lead the discussion at their own pace. Don’t put pressure on them to tell you anything they aren’t ready to talk about, however depending on the level of your relationship you may feel confident to challenge thoughts or behaviours. Talking can take a lot of trust and courage.
You probably aren’t a medical expert or a trained counselor. Try not to make assumptions about what is wrong or jump in too quickly with your own diagnosis or solutions. But you can signpost or take them to an appointment that they have missed or make an appointment to the GP on their behalf, with consent.
Change your narrative and try to keep your language neutral. Give the person time to answer and try not to grill them with too many questions.
Exercise, having a healthy diet and taking a break can help protect mental health and sustain wellbeing. Talk about ways of de-stressing and ask if they find anything helpful. Perhaps you want to buddy up at the gym or even go for a gentle walk through some green spaces. Sit on a bench and enjoy a mindful moment.
There are many types of mental health disorder. All of which can have an impact on our lives and the those around us.
Charities like MIND help to campaign to improve services, raise awareness and Promote understanding.
Repeat what they have said back to them to ensure you have understood it. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying, but by showing you understand how they feel, you are letting them know you respect their feelings.
Ask for help or signpost if the problem is serious. If you believe they are in immediate danger or they have injuries that need medical attention, you need to take action to make sure they are safe.
If you are in need of help but do not know where to look, we have provided the contact details of a number of organisations who may be able to help you.Find Help
If they have withdrawn from social media or social events, says they will come out and then don’t, make a visit, don’t send a text follow through your visit. Make your presence known don’t dismiss that text as ‘rude’ or you ‘can’t be bothered’ Understand what has happened in their lives. Be that valued friend.
Get support in the meantime, some referrals may take up to two years, so support your friend, peer or relative with practical support.
Go for walks, make a cuppa, make regular visits, be funny, be supportive, be accountable, make open and honest conversations, try deep breathing, do some exercise, clean the house, cook together, help with appointments, childcare, support a healthy lifestyle, do the shopping and seek help.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, of course. These are just a few practical ways in which you can make your friends/peer/family feel loved, attended to, maybe temporarily relieved of stress and depression