Friendship Day: Lending A Helping Hand to A Friend with Mental Illness

A friend in need is a friend indeed — the adage aptly defines a true friend as the one who is always willing to help when needed. A friend’s impact on one’s life is more powerful than one can imagine. A good friend not only influences someone’s decisions, but also changes his perception and elevates his quality of life by encouraging him to lead a healthy life.

But what will be the reaction of a person when his friend confides in him that he is suffering from a mental disorder? Though it is not easy to understand the challenges faced by a person with mental illness, supportive friends can play an important role in helping someone recover from the ordeal.

Knowing the signs of various mental diseases is the first step toward ensuring the well-being of a loved one struggling with a mental health issue. One can look for the following symptoms in a friend who admits that he or she has a mental disability:

· Constant worry or depression: Though it is normal to get worried about certain things in life, a constant feeling of malaise and anxiety can be a sign of mental illness. A perpetual feeling of unrest can interfere with day-to-day activities, making a person withdraw from all social activities.

· Frequent emotional outbursts: A mentally unstable person may show extreme mood changes, with frequent, uncontrollable “highs” or “lows,” along with prolonged feelings of irritability and anger.

· Sleep problems and appetite changes: Any changes in the normal sleep pattern may indicate a mental health issue. For instance, insomnia, or lack of sleep, may indicate substance use disorder or anxiety-related problems, whereas excessive or no sleep could be a sign of eating disorder or depression.

· Changes in behavior or substance abuse: When a person begins withdrawing from life or starts using substances, it could be a sign of mental diseases, such as depression, bipolar disorder or a psychotic disorder.

Lending a helping hand

Though it may be quite difficult to make a friend understand that healing is a process that takes time, following tips can help someone deal with a loved one suffering from a mental health condition:

· Listening and showing concern: A person can support his friends suffering from mental health problems by listening to them, by being non-judgmental and non-critical. These methods can help them in their journey of recovery from a mental disease.

· Ensuring proper treatment and care: To help a loved one recover from a mental disorder, it is important to make sure that he or she is receiving proper treatment and care. It will be a good idea to accompany a friend to the doctor as the treatment procedures can be complicated and at times, even rigorous.

· Educating oneself: To become a mental health ally, it is important to know about various facts and myths about mental diseases.

· Encouraging and giving positive feedback: When a friend feels low, one needs to be sensitive and allow the person to express himself by giving complete attention to what he or she is saying. It is important to tell a friend about his or her strengths, accomplishments, and positive traits. This can help a mentally ill person feel positive.

Seeking help

To cherish the presence of wonderful friends in our lives and help them lead a happy and stress-free life, the first Sunday of August is observed as the International Friendship Day. The tradition of celebrating the day started in 1935 when the U.S. Congress decided to dedicate a day to honor friendship.

If your friend is suffering from any kind of mental health condition, it is imperative to seek help before matters get worse. For more information about various mental disorders or our mental health centers, you may contact the Sovereign Mental Health Services. We are adept at providing innovative and evidence-based therapeutic interventions for treatment of various mental disorders. You may contact at 24/7 helpline number 866–954–0529 or chat online with treatment expert to know about one of our mental health facilities in your vicinity.

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