Everyone deals with their own conflicts to some degree. If you or someone you know is dealing with mental health, you probably know how important a good support system is. Having someone who always has your back and who you can be yourself with, is one of the greatest feelings. It can even be lifesaving. You can put your best foot forward in supporting your friends by following some of our tips below.
Starting the conversation
Asking for help is one of the most challenging things for someone dealing with mental health. Beginning the conversation in a way that’s not invasive and shows your genuine concern is a great way to get the ball rolling. Don’t pry, but allow your friend to express what’s been bothering them in a safe and judgement-free zone. Once you or your friend feel comfortable enough to continue, you can begin working together on a plan for next steps and a healthier mindset.
Be a good listener
This goes a long way. Being heard is sometimes all someone needs to start feeling better about their current situation. The more you listen, the more you can learn about your friend and what they are going through. It makes empathizing with them much easier. It is also important to remember that sometimes people just want to vent and aren’t seeking advice. Once you’ve listened, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help. Ask them if they want your help or if they just want you to be an ear for listening.
Educating yourself on the signs, symptoms, and diagnoses of mental health conditions is a great way to show your support. Knowing what to look for and being able to address them as soon as possible is super beneficial to helping find a solution. Learning about what kinds of mental health conditions exist and how to support individuals who are fighting them shows that you mean it when you say you want to help. Actions speak louder than words, so always do your research.
Assist in finding resources
Sometimes just being there for someone can be enough. Being a helping hand to a friend in need is always a great way to show your support. Even if you aren’t providing the support directly, just pointing your friends in the right direction can go a long way. If they’re open to it, offer to help them in finding resources. These options can seem daunting at first, but through proper support and understanding, this can be really helpful.
There’s a reason they say patience is a virtue. Mental health conditions don’t go away overnight and it can take weeks, months, or even years until there’s progress. But don’t give up on your friends! The path to recovery can be a long one but it’s essential to always remind them to love themselves exactly as they are and that they’re never alone. Allow your friend the space to do things at their own pace. W
Be aware of toxic positivity Telling someone to “just be positive” or saying “it could be worst” can oftentimes leave people feeling worse about themselves and isolated in their feelings. Always be supportive, regardless of whether or not you understand how they feel. Remind them that their feelings are valid, and it’s okay that they are experiencing these feelings.
Pressuring someone into finding resources could become extremely overwhelming. Create a “no pressure” environment for your friend and gently remind them that there are ways to better themselves with ease.
No one needs to fight their fight alone. You can always be there to listen and show your support by following some of these tips above. Be sure to check out the rest of our health and wellness content at the Inspo Spot.