If you have found yourself searching this topic or tapping on this post I am assuming you have or are in a position where you have a friend you can tell is going through a hard time and you are just unsure how to help...
you are not alone.
even as I write this I hope my words can help you navigate this often hard subject, just remember these isn't a human on this planet that has an unlimited supply of emotional resources.
I know from experience that it can even be draining on your own energy, to give all your love and attention to someone in need and not feel like its helping. Which is what lead me here.. since its Mental Health Awareness Month I decided to write this article for myself so I can be more prepared to help my friends.
I have deep dived into online resources and articles from experiences and this is what I have found to be the most helpful information. Mental health is a crucial aspect of our overall well-being, and it's important to support those who may be struggling with it. If you know someone who is dealing with mental health issues, here are some tips on how to help them:
- Listen non-judgmentally: Sometimes, all a person needs is someone to listen to them without judging them. Be there for your loved one and let them know that you are there to support them.
- Offer reassurance: Let them know that they are not alone and that you are there to help them through their struggles. Even with as much resources as we have about mental health - I often feel so much guilt and shame when I am going through a hard time. I feel like I'm not allowed to not be ok – and having friends to talk with and hear we are going through similar things can be helpful. BUT try not to make it about you. You can share if you feel it is right but if your friend just needs someone to listen to, turning the converstation around to you may make them feel like you listened but you didn't really hear them. Use your intention to navigate if listening vs. talking feels more supportive in the moment. ** you may find when listening that it does bring up your own feelings. you can also make time to talk about this at a later moment but if you are coming into the converstation to be there for your friend do your best to prioritize them in this moment.
- Look for information that might be helpful: Educate yourself about the mental health issue your loved one is dealing with. This will help you understand what they are going through and how you can support them. It's ok not to know everything, take time to listen to your friend and gather information based off what they are going through.
- Help them seek professional help: This one is hard but sometimes we have to remember that we are not the professional (unless you are). If you feel what your friend is going through is more than you are carry try and encourage your loved one to seek professional help. Offer to help them find a therapist or a support group that can help them through their struggles.
- Be clear about your boundaries: It's important to take care of yourself too. Be clear and direct about your boundaries, and find ways to honor what you need to do in order to be able to show up for them.