How To Help Someone Struggling With Mental Health?
Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term ‘mental health’ is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder.
Mental health can affect daily life, relationships, and even physical health. Mental health also includes a person’s ability to enjoy life – to attain a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is:
“… a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
How to identify?
Sometimes it will seem obvious when someone is going through a hard time, but there is no simple way of knowing if they have a mental health problem. Sometimes you don’t need to know. It’s more important to respond sensitively to someone who seems troubled than to find out whether or not they have a diagnosis.
Although certain symptoms are common with specific mental health problems, no two people behave in exactly the same way when they are unwell. If you know the person well, you may notice changes in their behaviour or mood.
SIGNS OF DEPRESSION
People who are depressed may:
- have low confidence
- lose interest in activities they normal enjoy
- lose their appetite
- get tired easily
- be tearful, nervous or irritable.
At worst they may feel suicidal.
SIGNS OF ANXIETY
People experiencing anxiety may:
- have difficulty concentrating
- be irritable
- try to avoid certain situations
- appear pale and tense
- be easily startled by everyday sounds
Panic attacks are usually a sign of anxiety. Someone having a panic attack experiences a sudden and intense sensation of fear. They may breathe rapidly, sweat, feel very hot or cold, feel sick or feel faint.
How to comfort them?
When suffering mentally — with depression, anxiety or something more complex (which is not to say that those two aren’t complex) — it isn’t uncommon for friends/colleagues/family members to complain that they don’t know what to say.
It is important to know how to speak to someone who is struggling with a mental health condition. Everything that you say should be censored by your compassion and understanding of the person.
Whether we believe it or not, we are socially and emotionally connected to each other. We look to one another to determine our self-worth (unfortunately) and often tally up our worth based on how others speak to us, whether they accept us or not, or how we are treated. It’s something very innate within many of us. As a result, we must be mindful of how we speak to someone who is already in a state of vulnerability.
The last thing you want to do is make someone feel guilty, unimportant, or ousted for having a mental health condition.
Here are 10 things you should say to those struggling with their mental health.
- This will pass.
- Lots of people with your illness live highly functioning and fulfilling lives.
- My ears are always open if you want to talk about it.
- Maybe I won’t understand but I still want to listen.
- You can be honest with me.
- I assure you, you are not alone.
- You will get through this.
- Life doesn’t have to stay this way.
- You will defeat this.
- Don’t let this overpower you.
The best solution for the treatment of mental illness varies according to the individual’s needs and lifestyle. Treatment centers are a great option for those who are just beginning with treatment because they provide the chance to start healing in an environment free of distraction and stress. It’s important to work with a medical professional regardless of the type of solution you choose. Some prefer a holistic approach, while others take the traditional approach of medication and therapy. Still others combine a variety of treatments and lifestyle changes to create a treatment plan that’s right for them.
While it’s important to encourage your loved one to get help, also understand healing is a process that takes time. Even when your loved one receives an official diagnosis of a mental health disorder, chances are recovery won’t happen right away. Many disorders, particularly those that have been undiagnosed for a long period of time, respond better to long-term treatment than short-term methods. Some medications take weeks to become effective, and lifestyle changes might take even longer. It’s important to understand long-term healing requires commitment and patience, and to continue giving your support even if your loved one is frustrated due to not seeing positive changes soon enough. On the other hand, if a treatment option appears not to be effective, the best thing you can do is suggest your loved one speak with his or her mental health provider.