Although we’ve evolved tremendously in taking mental health problems soberly, the word “mental health” still carries a taint. If it’s awkwardness, fear, or dissent, the irony is that it will discourage people from admitting their mental health issues or discussing them freely with friends and family.
Mental wellness, like physical fitness, is what we all have. Our mental wellbeing will swing from ecstasy, cheerfulness, and melancholy to depression, apprehension, and perhaps other dilemmas.
The government estimates, 1 in every five Indians are destined to suffer from depression eventually. The prevalence of anxiety and depression among corporate employees rose by 45-50 percent between 2008-2015. The worst part is nearly half of these severe mental ailments aren’t treated.
These figures emphasize the eminence of empowering individuals to communicate freely and frankly with someone they have faith in about their mental breakdowns. It’s better said than done because many professionals suffering from anxiety, fatigue, or depression can’t seek support from their colleagues.
Furthermore, friends and acquaintances who wish to assist may fail to put it into words or are unaware of how to approach the subject of mental wellbeing. To get the interaction started, I’ve listed a few different ways you can bring up mental health with a friend, loved one, or coworker.
(1). Try talking about something besides psychological distress to start the discussion:
If you’re concerned that your buddy may be less likely to seek help with a severe mental health problem, check in with them and discuss how they’re doing, as well as how their job or social life is going.
You’re making space for your buddy to share and receive help by mainly reaching out to catch up. Starting with a lighthearted, general topic of conversation will help your buddy feel at ease about opening up.
(2). Let them know that you understand they’re having a tough time:
If you suspect your friend is depressed, coping with a crisis at work, family issues, has gone through a tragic accident, consider including it in the conversation.
For instance, “I understand you’ve been under a great deal of stress at work; how are you doing?” They might be unable to bring up sensitive conversations or issues under the fear of being criticized, but respecting that they are going through challenging times will allow them to vent about it and feel comfortable with your assistance and guidance.
(3). Begin by expressing your concern:
If you’re not sure how you might contribute, begin by expressing a desire to assist. A constructive way to start the dialogue, “I understand things are tough for you right now; I need you to know that I care for you and that I’m here for you; if it’s not too much trouble, let me know in the event that if there’s something else, I can do.“
It’s okay if you don’t have all the solutions and don’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything. But it’s vital to note that even though you’re not a mental health specialist, listening attentively to someone who wants support meets an essential human requirement: you’re assisting them in feeling understood, respected, and supported. Listening, allowing them the time and space, and clearly saying that you are there with them will make a considerable impact when dealing with mental health issues.
(4). Lend your assistance and support:
Coping with mental wellbeing issues can be all-consuming at times, and indeed day-to-day exercises might feel overpowering.
If you know a friend in need, who’s experiencing such issues, consider initiating the talk by providing some practical assistance and encouragement, such as going shopping with them, helping with a task, or running an errand for them. Small acts of compassion like these can make a big difference in others who feel stressed, which can help relieve the stress. These acts might inevitably lead to a discussion about how they’re doing.
(5). Instead of giving advice, concentrate on suggestions:
While it might prove beneficial to provide advice based on your own life experiences, it’s crucial to understand that giving advice may not be permissible if you’re not a psychiatric specialist. Instead of offering solutions for help, aim to reflect on how we all regulate our ideas, desires, and impulses in our distinct ways.
By subtly easing the talk into developing new answers, and you’re reminding the person that they don’t have to stay trapped, afraid, or frustrated and that they can get help from a cascade of different sources.
(6). Look at what you can do to help:
Since mental wellbeing is an intricate and sensitive topic to discuss, keep it clear by posing open-ended questions like, “What can I do to help you?“
It’s crucial to highlight that everyone’s mental health journey is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution that can benefit all. So, by asking open questions, you’re allowing your friend to articulate how they’re feeling and what they require.
(7). Tell them you’ll mentor them and sympathize for a long time:
It’s doubtful that you’ll be able to eliminate their dilemmas – our mental wellbeing will oscillate, and we’re all on a path. Talking about your problems is a significant first step, and it will lead to more opportunities for counseling, self-care, and healing.
When it comes to mental health issues, people sometimes need time, and one way to respect this is to provide long-term care. For instance, “I’m here anytime you feel disconnected.“
Let them know that you are a long-term mentor and will be present for them in the coming weeks and months.
For people with impaired mental health, friends, and acquaintances who wish to express their empathy and assistance, talking might prove very daunting. Starting the talk with a friend, loved one, or coworker who is suffering might make all the difference. Try to treat everyone’s perspective with compassion and without prejudice, and always consider their needs when assisting.
Get the conversation going!