It can be really difficult to help someone who is struggling with their mental health. I know when I was at my worst I didn’t know how anyone could help me, however I didn’t want to be left alone to feel like I was fighting this battle without anyone by my side. I appreciated everyone supporting me, listening to me and talking to me until I could tell them how they could help me.
I thought I could try and help by writing a blog post about helping someone who is struggling with their mental health from the point of view of someone who has been in that position.
Be supportive –
As I mentioned above, the best thing you can do is just support someone. This is the first step of caring for someone who is struggling with their mental health. You cannot force them to ask for help (unless they are a danger to themselves or others – there’s some information at the end of this post as to what to do in a crisis). All you can do is be there for them when they are ready to reach out for help and to talk to you.
Be supportive and make them aware that you will be there for them when they need you.
You may still be wondering how you can support someone and so I thought I would provide a few examples of how people supported me:
Make the effort to see them – when you’re struggling, seeing a friendly face can really help and it can pass the time quicker
Send them a text – let them know you care by keeping in contact with them
Make them dinner – When we’re fighting against our own mind the basics of everyday life can be difficult to contend with
I hope this has given you an idea or two about how to initially support somebody.
Listen & Talk –
When they eventually begin to talk do your best to really listen to them. Allow them to open up to you and tell you how they’re feeling. The most important thing to remember at this stage is not to be judgmental. The last thing someone needs is your opinion when they’re trying to reach out for help.
Try to do some research into their problems, they may ask you for your opinion and this way you can give an informed one. It might be helpful to look at what help is out there for them, consider how a doctor’s appointment might help them or if there is any medication out there to assist their recovery.
Ask them how you can help them –
Everyone’s experience with mental health is different and so the best thing you can do is ask that person how you can help them. There are endless ways that you can help someone who is suffering and by asking them you can ensure you’re using your time wisely. Some people may need help organising their medication, or need help attending appointments, or even just keeping the house clean on a daily basis.
However they ask you to help them do your best to accommodate their request and do not let them think that you are putting yourself out. I know from my own personal experience, when I was really suffering, I felt like a huge burden on everyone and the last thing I would have wanted was to feel like I was asking too much from someone.
Be Encouraging –
How you encourage someone struggling with their mental health will depend on how severe they are. As some one who suffers with anxiety, emetophobia and occasionally depression I appreciate it when others encourage me to go out. I lack the confidence to go out alone, in fear of having a panic attack, and so it’s nice when people offer to come with me and encourage me to do things.
You might wish to encourage the person to pursue a healthy lifestyle – perhaps help them prepare some meals that they can keep in the freezer, or even accompany them to an exercise class. There are many different ways that you can encourage them on their journey of recovery.
I hope you have found these suggestions helpful, I’m going to pop some information below on who to contact in a crisis and various resources available to help you understand mental health.
Who to contact in a crisis:
Samaritans – Samaritans is a charity which is available to those who need someone to talk to. They are one of the leading charities in suicide prevention and their work is truly admirable.
You can call them at any time on: 116 123
or email them on: Jo@samaritans.org
Doctor/ A&E/ Emergency Services – If you feel that the person suffering with their mental health is a risk to themselves or others then seek immediate professional help.
The Internet – The internet contains endless amounts of information. Everything you need to know about mental health can be found on the internet. If you’re looking for first hand experiences then there are many other bloggers like myself who share their stories online. We hope to provide support for others going through similar troubles and to educate people on mental health and how it can impact on life.
Doctor – If you’re concerned about someone’s mental health you may want to book an appointment with a doctor. They can direct you towards all the local resources.
Mind Charity – Mind are a charity that focus on mental health and they offer a wide range of information and support. You can visit their website here and find the help tailored to your needs.