World Mental Health Day: Support Your Friends, Co-workers and Family Members

The Virtuous Vee

What do you think of when someone brings up the topic of mental health? Many people are influenced by negative stigma and preconceptions associated with mental illness. Mental health is viewed as a deviance in the eyes of society, instead of seeing its importance and the effects that it has on a person. In reality, mental health holds no bias on who it targets, no matter your gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or country you reside in, you or someone you know can suffer from a mental health disorder. Regardless of how merciless mental disorders can be, there is still an overbearing stigma behind it all.

Mental health includes emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects the way we think, what we influence and how we act. It also depends on how we deal with stress, how we treat others, and how we make choices. Mental health is true in every period of life, from childhood to adolescence and egg maturity and adulthood. World Mental Health Day has been organized by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) since 1992, on October 10 each year in more than a hundred countries around the world.

How to support someone with a mental health problem

You are never expected to treat or manage the mental health of loved ones, but we all have it in us to assist them in seeking help and their recovery. If you find yourself in a situation like this it is very important to know how to act and we are here to help you.

How to start a conversation about mental health?

When you want to talk about someone's mental health with them you should always start with creating a safe space for them to open up and not feel judged. Here are some great conversation starters:

  • I've been worried about you. If you are comfortable can we talk about what you are experiencing?
  • Is there anything I can help you with?
  • It seems like you are going through a difficult time. How can I help you to find help?

Don't put pressure on them.

Let them lead the discussion at their own pace. Don’t put pressure on them to tell you anything they aren’t ready to talk about. Also you can never be sure about how much they trust you. So take it slow and easy.

Don't interrupt them with your feelings and experiences.

In my experience, the worst people to talk to in this case are those that will cut your words just to say that they have been in a similar situation. They will often give you advice on how to overcome the "problem", but forget that everyone deals with life differently. They might have the purest intentions doing it, but it is definitely not the way things work.

Listen.

Sometimes we forget that people just need to be heard. Not always hey ask for opinions or anything, they just need to get things off of their chest. Listen and watch for reactions during the discussion. Slow down or back up if the person becomes confused or looks upset.

Make sure to be here for your friends and family. In many cases, people don't show their inner battles to the world, but a simple conversation can reveal what really is going on.

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