Nobody wishes for mental health issues. I, for sure, don’t want them either. But nothing can be done to destigmatize the conversation of mental health by being a bystander or just another person in a crowd. Sometimes it’s healthy to see more people getting involved when you know the right way to approach the conversation. As someone who has witnessed family and friends go through problems with depression and anxiety, I’ve learned that it is best to know your place and be mindful of what others are going through. In this article, I am going to discuss the best ways that I have been able to support someone without pushing too far or agitating their mood in the process.
I know this seems like such an obvious one, but people sometimes forget to stop and listen to what their friend is going through. Sometimes you want to help but don’t know how, and I’m here to tell you that this is the first step in helping someone. Really absorbing what they are saying can help you form a plan of action for supporting them. Now, of course, hearing and listening are two separate things, so it’s always best to fully engage yourself in the conversation of their wellbeing. This shows that you truly care about the struggles they are going through and actively want to help. This, in turn, will lead you to the next important step.
After you listen to their problem, try to put yourselves in their shoes. Everyone is unique and sometimes it helps to really try to understand what they are going through. If you are unsure of how to approach this next step, there are a lot of great resources online that can give you the rundown of what mental health issues like anxiety and depression entail. Even if you also struggle with preexisting mental health issues, it doesn’t mean what works for you will also work for the person you are trying to help. Take a step back and really analyze the position they are in because these kinds of problems, like most others, rely solely on individual context.
So, now you have all this great information, but what do you do with all of it? Well, take it easy because sometimes all that information can be overwhelming for both of you. You most likely aren’t a certified professional so pretending like you are isn’t going to help anyone. These kinds of things take time, and the best way to help your friend would be to come up with some sort of plan. I use this term very loosely because a plan could be as simple as starting off with weekly talks or daily phone calls checking in on how your friend is feeling. These are both great ways to start your friend on the right path. With more communication comes more understanding, and it shouldn’t be a race. So, take your time and get through this with them no matter how long it takes.
All these things together will help get your friend or family member on the road to a better tomorrow and hopefully reassure them that they aren’t alone in this fight against mental health issues.