I do not have mental health problems, but I have many friends who suffer from depression, anxiety, and even PTSD, so I have developed methods to help them during a time of distress. Mental health is a very serious issue that some people do not take so seriously. If you have a friend or know anyone who suffers from depression and anxiety, or struggles with their mental health, it is important to know how to help them in a time of need. Finals can be an especially trying time, so keep an extra eye out for those friends.
The first thing to know about helping a friend with mental health issues is to remember that you are not a professional! It is not your job to save them, just be there for them and make sure they get the professional help they DO need.
If your friend comes to you with a problem, you should be compassionate and listen to them. Most likely they need someone to talk to, and if they can’t get to a therapist right away, you could be the next best thing. You don’t necessarily need give them advice, just listen and assure them that everything will be alright.
If your friend has cut themselves or self-harmed in any way, you either need to get them to a hospital, or, if it is not medically serious, bandage their arm and assure them that they will be okay. If they apologize to you, let them know they have nothing to apologize for.
An important thing to remember is that sometimes they just need a hug and for someone to be with them while they cry. It’s okay to sit in silence.
Mental health is a very important thing to discuss. Some people would rather keep it quiet because they don’t believe it is a real health issue. If you believe you have a problem with mental health that you think should be discussed or diagnosed, visit the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center. There are also many opportunities to get help in the city of Austin. For immediate emergency help, you can visit integral care, an emergency psychiatric clinic, or any emergency room, such as St. David’s or Seton Medical Center. There are also in-patient service options at many hospitals. Get the help you need, and be the help someone else needs.