How can I as a layman help someone struggling with mental health

To be healthy, both mentally and physically, is a prerequisite for a value-creating life. We are fortunate to be living in the 21st century when conversations around mental health have just started to become normal. Unlike our grandparents’ or even parents’ generation, when mental illness meant “crazy” or “abnormal,” we have access to mental health professionals and helplines that can provide the initial support to those struggling with such issues.

And yet, we know that it’s not easy for most to come out and talk about the challenges they face on a daily basis. More often than not, we end up either denying that we are struggling or go into a shell as we feel most around us will judge us, including our family and friends.

But if you’re one of those few people, with whom a friend or a family member has opened their hearts about their mental health struggles, it is important to know what you can do.

When I suffered from postpartum depression (PPD) after delivering my daughter, it took me some time to first accept that I was going through it, and then to find the right people whom I could share my struggles with. I also ended up thinking a lot about what one can do when someone we know is dealing with mental health issues.

Here’s what I learned through my journey.

Lend an ear without any judgment

I took a lot of time to reach out and share what I was going through during PPD even with my best friend. My mother was the only person I felt comfortable sharing my struggle with and all she did was listen to me. So, if someone does reach out to you, let’s be non-judgmental and listen to them to the best of our abilities. Let’s not pass any judgments and find reasons to convince the person in front of us that it’s just a phase.

Guide them towards a mental health professional

Before coming up with solutions, let us guide those who need help towards someone who understands mental health medically. A mental health professional is the only person who can know the severity of a patient’s situation, which as laymen, we just cannot gauge. If you don’t know a professional, do some research for your loved one and share only authentic sources with them.

Don’t gossip about them

We, as humans, have a habit of discussing our friends with other friends. Even when you don’t mean ill, such an act is just not ethical. Discussing that friend who’s depressed these days, with others, is so not cool! Rather, it will be wiser to keep their story to yourself and not discuss it with anyone who’s not a mental health professional.

Maintain regular interaction

Keep checking on the friend who’s been struggling lately with mental health. Knowing that someone cares can be helpful but it’s also equally important that we don’t overdo it. This also requires building trust with the person dealing with mental health issues. We can do that by going back to the first point mentioned above.

Take care of your own mental health

We cannot pour from an empty cup, so let’s be selfish and work on our own mental strength first. Those of us who genuinely want to engage with mental health and reach out to help, can feel vulnerable or too overwhelmed with all the knowledge that comes our way. So, let’s keep our own emotional well-being in mind too.

Mental health needs to be normalized and you can help by taking the right action when someone reaches out to you.

Do you want to add something? What else can we, the concerned yet not qualified people, do to help?

Share your thoughts or DM us here.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of flawsomelife.com. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and Flawsome Life does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.

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