It can be really hard to know what’s best when trying to approach the subject of how the person suffering with a mental health problem is feeling. There aren’t any right ways or handbooks on how to deal with people struggling with mental illness as everyone is different. Yet due to suffering myself these are some of the ways my friends and family showed support that really helped me.
Ask if there is anything you can do that will make them feel better or lessen their symptoms. It can be hard to broach the subject but the sufferer might be just as worried about bringing up the subject. Don’t force a conversation but let them know if you can do something to help them you will.
One issue a lot of sufferers have is feeling nobody understands. When talking to someone with a problem, listen carefully to what they are telling you. Try not to be shocked or upset by what they are saying. Sometimes just listening, not trying to come up with solutions or ways around things can let people get things off of their mind and feel supported.
Don’t overcrowd them
Sometimes it’s the most helpful way to let them know you are thinking about them and care maybe send a text or an email. So they can get back to you in their own time. As horrible as it sounds, sometimes when people are ill they just can’t face talking to people and need a bit of time to themselves. Also some people feel they need to pretend they’re okay, in front of other people this in itself can be draining and too much for some.
Try to encourage but not add pressure.
Suggest plans but try to understand if they feel they can’t go through with them and let them know you don’t blame them. We all want our loved ones to recover and participate in things, but try to remember recovery can take along time. Sometimes they may seem back to their old selves but don’t assume that everything will now be fine. It takes a lot of strength to overcome some problems. Try to encourage the person to engage with friends and situations. Yet let them know you understand, it will be a case of snakes and ladders. Sometimes making huge leaps forward, only to go further back down than where you were before but eventually they will get there.
I hope these tips help you. These are ways I have found useful and people have behaved around me when I have been unwell. Do remember everyone is different, has different illnesses and different ways to cope. So these methods may not help. Also try to remember the person, is still the same person and you know them. So do trust your instincts and try to be yourself with your friend or loved one.
Do you have any tips? Did this post help you in anyway? Does someone you know or you yourself suffer from mental illness? Do you think there is still a stigma around mental health?