It’s incredibly difficult seeing a friend or family member struggling with mental health issues. You want to do what you can to help but if you do the wrong thing, you might end up making them feel worse. When people are suffering from mental health issues it can often be hard for them to speak with family and friends about it. I never talked about it to more than a select few. It’s hard to figure out how you can help. There are many tips to learn how to be more sensitive. If you’re worried about somebody close to you but you don’t know what to do, here are just a few good tips that can help.
4 Ways to Support Friends with Mental Health Issues
Don’t Push Them
People usually have the best intentions at heart, but you cannot push somebody into opening up about their mental health issues. It’s true that talking about these things is a big help, but only when that person is ready. If you’re pushing them to talk and they don’t want to, they’re likely to retreat further and shut you out. This ends up making the problem a lot worse.
Always let them lead the conversation and share as much or as little as they want to. Once they’ve shared a little with you, they’ll be more likely to open up again in the future. It’s all about testing the waters and making sure they can trust you with such sensitive information.
Get Advice On Serious Issues
Mental health issues can have some serious symptoms. Take addiction, for example. You have to be very careful how you deal with these situations. You’re probably not an expert on these issues. So, please seek advice in these situations.
If you are dealing with somebody that has an addiction and you aren’t sure how to handle the situation, read these tips for family and friends of opiate addicts before you speak with them. Beyond that, you should always seek advice from medical professionals to ensure you aren’t making things worse.
Don’t Try To Diagnose Them
There’s nothing more frustrating and often offensive to somebody with mental health issues than people that try to diagnose them and tell them what the solution is. You’re likely to upset them by assuming you know what they are going through or telling them what to do. Mental health issues are more complex than that.
If you don’t show understanding, they aren’t likely to talk to you about it again. What you should be doing is giving them a chance to talk through some of their issues with somebody that they trust, nothing more. Leave the diagnosis to the health professionals.
Help Them Build A Routine
Routine is one of the best ways to deal with mental health problems so you should focus on trying to help that person build one. It’s important that you’re not pushy here though. Try to be an accountability partner. Make sure they know you are there for them when they don’t feel up to the routine.
Don’t just text and say, you need to get up and go out. That definitely won’t help. Just gently encourage them to get out and about and do things without putting too much pressure on them.
Helping a friend or family member deal with a mental health issue is always difficult. The most important thing to remember is not to push them and let them do things in their own time.