supporting a friend with mental illness

It is scary when someone you love is sick. It is estimated that 300 million adults and children live with some form of mental illness worldwide. Figuring out the right thing to do or say might not always come naturally; considering mental conditions are often obscure or not identified.

Sufferers might be reluctant to seek help, fearing the unfortunate stigma that mental collapses still carry.  Having someone to talk to, share feelings and offer the right professional suggestions might ease their emotional torment.

Deflect Confrontation

Living with or knowing someone suffering from a mental health problem elevates stress levels. Direct confrontation is a no-go, as it might do more damage than help. Sufferers need your understanding and compassion more than ever. Being present and showing them you care is the first step to encourage them to get on a better track. Identify a professional that will offer the necessary support, to guide them to the best approach.

show understanding with mentally ill patient

Avoid Saying Things Like "You Don't Look Like Someone Who Is mEntally Ill"

Depressed people are not the ones that look angry all the time. Unhappy individuals do not necessarily cry all the time. A mental crisis can hit anytime, triggered by any unfortunate circumstance – and sufferers’ behaviour contrasts between one individual and another. Verbalise empathy during a conversation. The person might feel better knowing that someone is dedicating the time to listen to their problems and display understanding. Seek professional advice to guide you on how best to reach out to the person instead of attempting to pick the right words.

Help Them Reach Out To Someone Who Truly Understands Them

Recognising mental disturbance symptoms might assist with an earlier diagnosis. Counsellors, psychologists or psychiatrists are trained to provide professional mental support and make the right diagnosis. These experts know more about such dilemmas than you, given they are equipped with the right techniques and approaches to deal with mental problems. Clear out the person’s feelings of hopelessness by suggesting they meet an expert to consult with and get on a better track. Being a great support system shows the sufferer that you do not hold any feelings of judgement and have only their well-being in mind.

person talking with a mental health professional

Take Care Of Your Own Mental Well-Being

During a crisis, providing reassurance to the person in need might become your first priority; sometimes at the cost of letting your own personal well-being take a sidestep. Remember that being a support system for someone in need requires a positive spirit to provide sympathy that enables recovery. Explore qualified assistance programmes for family and friends of people suffering from mental indispositions. Get clarity over your feelings and worries. Discover new ways on how to handle the tense situations you might be presented with.

Viewing mental instability as shameful or irrelevant might obscure the road of healing. Just like swallowing a paracetamol pill to cure a headache, professional support is the way to improve one’s mental state.