Millions of individuals suffer from mental health conditions all over the world. So, you might encounter someone in your family or friend group with a mental illness, and you want to support them but don’t know how or where to start. If so, we’ve listed a few tips that may help you understand how to approach someone with a mental health illness.
Learn about their mental illness
One of the best ways to support someone you love is to research their mental illness, such as its signs and symptoms. Try to learn about how its treatments work and its side effects. Be engaged, but as mentioned in tips #2 and #8, don’t be overbearing and you should know your limits.
Don’t be overbearing
Don’t be overbearing. Being too overbearing can scare the individual and cause them to become more closed-off. Be gentle with them because individuals who suffer from mental health conditions can be sensitive to overbearing or domineering attitudes.
Be sensitive to their emotions and let them do the talking.
Don’t pry too much.
Like the previous tip, don’t pry too much. Let them share as much or as little as they like. Let them lead the discussion. Never put pressure on them to tell you anything that’s uncomfortable or anything they’re not ready to tell you.
Talking requires a great deal of trust and courage, so be sure you don’t lose the trust they’ve placed in you. You may be the first person they’ve been able to speak to about their mental health.
Listen carefully and no distractions
Provide them with a safe space where they can talk with each other without distractions. Leave your phone, close the door, and listen carefully. Let them talk about their emotions, their mental state, and whatever they need to get off their chests.
Individuals with mental health conditions have a harder time talking about their emotions and trusting others. So, when they deem you trustworthy enough to talk about their mental state, make sure that you don’t do anything that could destroy that trust.
Know your limits.
You will have your own limitations in terms of the assistance you can give them. It’s also critical to look after oneself. Allow yourself time to recover and reflect on what they have told you or what has occurred. Digest what they have told you and make sure that it also does not trigger you.
Try to assist them in establishing a support system of other friends, family, and mental health experts who can assist them as well.
If you suspect they are in immediate danger to themselves or have injuries that require medical attention, you must act quickly to ensure their safety.
Offer to go with them to seek help from a professional.
If you think that your capabilities are lacking to support your loved one, then you might want to try and offer to go with them and seek help from a licensed professional. But remember, do not force them to do anything they do not want to do. Let them make that decision for themselves.
Be patient with them and never force them. But you should remember that before you start helping someone, it’s also important that you also take care of yourself.