As we all know all too well, it isn’t always possible to know if a friend or family member is struggling with mental health.
Sometimes they hide it too well and we could’ve never known but that’s why it is essential to check up on all your friends, even those who seem so content and happy, so I thought I’d share 5 simple and easy ways to help a friend struggling with mental health, even if they haven’t told you they are.
1. Ask If They’re OK and Mean It
The second line in most conversations is something similar to ‘how are you’, we say hello and automatically ask if someone is OK or ask how they are but because we’re so programmed to automatically ask this, do we really listen to the answer?
Whether you think your friend could be suffering with a mental health problem or not, drop them a text, give them a call or ask when you see them how they’re doing and give them time to answer and take in what they’re saying.
2. Let Them Know How We’ll They’re Doing
A lot of mental health problems can stem from a lack of self confidence or self worth, so letting your friends know how well they’re doing could be the boost they need to feel better that day.
Whether they post something online about a success or you just know they’re trying to really hard with something, a one line text to let them know they’re doing well could make all the difference.
3. Make Plans and Stick to Them
Making plans with someone can be one of the most valuable things if they’re feeling down in themselves but it’s important to stick to them.
Make plans with your friend, get them out the house, get them doing something they enjoy and when you’re with them, properly give them your time, don’t be on your phone all the time.
4. Encourage Plans for the Future
Living in the now is so important when you’re feeling low as enjoying the current moment can really lift your mood but if your friend or family member is struggling with mental health, encouraging them to look to the future is equally as important.
The future can look dark, empty and daunting when you’re feeling depressed or anxious or suffering with another kind of mental health problem and something as simple as a friend reminding you how much you have to look forward to can make all the difference.
5. Listen and Don’t Judge
Everyone is different with how they deal with mental health, some people are more vocal than others but if someone opens up to you about how they’re feeling or tries to reach out to you for support, just listen and don’t judge.
Sometimes all you need when your low is a shoulder to cry on and someone to hear you out, you’re not always looking for advice, sometimes the best thing you can offer someone is your time and full attention to just listen.
Offer them a safe place to talk with no judgement and make sure they know that place is always there.
Although having a mental health problem can feel so complex and confusing, dealing with it can actually be as straight forward as following the above 5 steps.
Check on your friends that are sad but check on your friends who seem fine too, you just never know!
Mind – 0300 123 3393
Samaritans – 116 123