It can be heart breaking to see a loved one struggle especially when it involves mental illness.
How do you think you would react if it was one of your nearest and dearest?.....Would you know what to do?
A hard truth is that mental health can be complicated a lot of the time and misunderstood most of the time so it's understandable a lot of us wouldn't know how to react but "knowledge is power" and just knowing the very basics can go a long way in supporting someone with mental illness.
That's why I wrote this post. I wanted to put together a quick guide on what we can all do to help those around us who might be struggling so if you're interested in that..... Let's talk about it.
Tips To Support Someone With Mental Illness
Be Their Eyes
I see You
Mental illness differs from the normal low mood, anxiety and stress we all feel in our day to day lives. These unhealthy thoughts and feelings can normally be dealt with and eliminated fairy easily but mental Illness it isn't logical or rational so trying to find meaning from confusion can be a real struggle for some.
That's where we can help....
We can be the eyes that notice the changes in a person’s behaviour, talk or mood and although we might not be able to understand things from their point of view we can help them connect a few dots together, be the one that see's when things are getting bad and get them the help they need.
Just listening to someone can be a game charger when it comes to helping and supporting others who might be struggling..... And..... It's something we all know how to do.
You don't have to be miss Oprah Winfrey or Sigmund Fraud in how to communicate with them just be available for them if they want to talk.
Maybe they need someone to know what they're going through because they're struggling inside. Maybe they just wanna talk about Coronation St or the Kardashians so they can feel normal and escape for a while.
What we do know for sure though is that by treating them the same way you always have you're showing them that they don't have to do this on their own because when it's needed, you have their back.
Be A Good Role Model
One of the ways to support a person with mental illness is to help them create a healthy lifestyle. Why not try and get them involved in healthy activities like cooking, exercising or Mindfulness.
This could mean doing a Google deep dive to find local activities, groups or organisations that will support their recovery OR (sorry folks) It could mean you might have to get those old dusty joggers and keep them company if they wanna go for a run. Whatever it is.... be enthusiastic..... be positive..... and get involved.
Ask For Help If You Need It
It's OK not to be OK
There's no shame in admitting you don't have all the answers or feeling a little bit in over your head so please don't think you have to cope with it all by yourself.
If things are getting tough try reaching out to others. There's plenty of organisations out there that are dedicated to helping the friends and families of those suffering from mental illness.
Turning point is a great organisation that offers support, advice and guidance to all those being effect by a loved ones journey with mental illness so if you are struggling please reach out to them.... That's what they're there for.
Look After Yourself
Can i get an Amen
Supporting someone with a mental illness can be very challenging and overwhelming and if you're not looking after you, you can easily start to burn out yourself So If you need to take a bit of "me time" out of your day and do things that'll make sure your mind stays in a healthy place do.
Supporting someone with Mental Illness takes understanding, acceptance, knowledge and courage and yes we might not know the professional stuff in helping someone but the personal stuff.... The personal love and care we can offer our friends and family is just as important and effective in their support and recovery.
If this post reaches out to anyone and helps them a little I'll take it as a job well done. Speak soon x Rob x