You may focus on your mental health and ensuring you can function in society with constant bombardment. But what happens when you’re trying to offer support to someone else who is going through their issues with mental health? Helping someone else is a completely different thing entirely.
Here are a few things to consider when trying to help a loved one with some mental health issue.
Approaching the subject
The hardest thing is starting the conversation. Expressing your concerns and showing them you are there will provide a useful starting point. There are many resources around that can help. For example, The Awareness Centre provides a variety of counseling. However, it’s important to remember that counseling could be the end goal, but there may be many steps before they feel ready to come around to this. In the meantime, you should not be afraid to talk about it but also reassure them. It’s essential not to be judgemental or challenge their feelings. You need to be there and listen.
Setting aside time
When we are trying to speak to someone and encourage them to talk about their mental health, we’ve got to ensure that there are no distractions. It’s easier said than done in the modern world, but when somebody feels like they need support, you’ve got to let them share as much or as little as they decide to. Setting aside the time and listening to what they tell you is critical, but you also need to understand your limits. When we set aside time to speak to somebody we are concerned about, we should try not to take it personally because we could be concerned that they are hurting us. This is not easy, but we also need to set aside self-care and time. The Mindsum site provides some great information about this.
Anticipating potential barriers
They may not want to seek help, and as frustrating as this can be for us, we must understand that if we offer a variety of support options, this can help to remove barriers that either they are putting in place or are present in the world. Many people don’t want to help themselves and will use excuses not to do something. This can be incredibly frustrating because we’re trying to help, and it’s being thrown back to us, but it’s essential not to bait the problems further. You can spend time preparing all the relevant solutions to present to them. It’s about making sure they have the time to consider what they are going through, and they need to find the courage to seek support.
The hardest thing about offering support to anybody with some form of mental health concern is if they will help themselves. We are there to provide support, not to do anything for them. We can always be there for someone, but we may have to be incredibly patient in the meantime for them to come around to wanting to help themselves too.