With World Mental Health Day coming up on October 10, now is a good time to discuss what role you can play in promoting awareness. Learning about mental health disorders, their treatment and how you can support those who are suffering, is an important part of mental health education.
It is important to realize that mental health issues are pervasive, and the statistics show its a global issue. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030, depression will be the leading global illness worldwide if urgent steps are not taken.
Making mental health awareness a priority can help family members and the community at large, support those who need treatment. Let us see how you can support someone you know who is suffering:
How Can You Support Those Who Suffer?
One of the hardest things is seeing someone you know suffer from mental illness. Often loved ones feel helpless and at a loss as to how to support someone who is spiralling and has not sought medical help. It can be frightening and quite frankly, intimidating if you do not know how about mental health as a disease.
The most important thing you can do is educate yourself. You can do this easily by looking up local resource centres where you can learn more about mental health disorders and read mental health books.
Here are some great ways to lend support while encouraging them to seek treatment:
Do Not Shame Them
The most important thing is to not give your loved ones the feeling that they should be ashamed for having a mental illness. It is not only words but your facial expressions and body language that can often shame mental health sufferers into not wanting to talk or seek help. If you commit to opening your heart and mind to listen and support, your facial expressions and body language will automatically become compassionate. Mental health sufferers cannot control their actions or thoughts, it is a medical disease that requires treatment.
Lend Your Ear and Reassurance
Taking the time to listen to those who suffer from mental health disorders is essential. If you want to lend support, lend your ear. Sometimes you do not even need to offer advice but must listen to what they are feeling and going through. This makes all the difference when it comes to being an ally for mental health sufferers. Your reassurance and words of comfort can make a difference in someone’s life. We have all heard the stories of individuals who call suicide hotlines and how they were convinced not to end their life because of someone’s words. Do not underestimate the importance of verbal moral support.
Whenever you are trying to be supportive, it is always important not to confront the individual but rather try and offer reassurance and access to important treatment and resources. If you feel that you are entering into an argument or confrontation, it is better to walk away and give the person some time to cool off and contemplate. It may also be a good idea to then have someone else talk to the individual if you feel that you cannot communicate with them.
Suggest Treatment Options and Resources
Suggesting treatment and access to important resources is an essential part of offering support to people who have mental health disorders. You should have a list of mental health resources ready to share when you are sitting down to talk. If you do not have them on you, then you can offer to look up some resources and share them at a later time. The most important thing is to explain that there are treatments for these issues and that many people have received professional help and are doing great.
Suggest Mental Health Books Read
A great way to show support is by suggesting some mental health book recommendations. These books are not only informative but can also help those who suffer learn about others who also have mental health disorders. If they feel they are not alone when it comes to a mental illness they will realize that this is not something to be ashamed of. You can learn about treatment options, self-care and what kind of latest medical management plans are available.
Below are some suggested books:
Lend Your Support to Those Who Need It
Learning about mental health is the first step in showing support for those who suffer from mental illness. World Mental Health Day is about setting aside your preconceptions of the disease and showing solidarity with our friends, family and co-workers.
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