Addressing Mental Health Concerns with Family Members or Friends
Saying or doing the wrong things can negatively impact someone with mental health issues making it harder for them to overcome their problems.
It’s no secret that speaking about mental health is something that is considered quite taboo. Nonetheless, over the past few years, we have seen a surge in the extent to which speaking about mental health concerns is becoming much more accepted and spoken about openly. This is something that is being celebrated all over the world, especially since mental health issues are some that most people deal with at least once in their life.
For example, people, in general, may think that “depression will never happen to them”, but from one day to the next, they begin isolating themselves and feel symptoms of depression. Indeed, it can happen to anyone.
Below are three ways in which you can address mental health concerns with your family members or friends.
Get Past the Stigma
According to the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, the stigma around mental health is still “one of the largest barriers to treatment engagement, even though treatment has been shown to be effective, even in low-income countries,” something that is widely supported by the literature. In fact, beliefs regarding mental health as something that makes one weak or something that one can just “get over” are still at the root of the issues pertaining to mental health.
Many individuals feel like they cannot speak to others about their mental health issues because they will face judgment, and this is associated with the stigma that is very present. So, if you are thinking of speaking to someone about mental health issues, be aware that this is a common problem that people face. So what can you do? Try and educate your friends and family about mental health.
One of the best ways to get past the mental health stigma is to educate others on the real issues of mental health. There are many studies that have shown that using visual content such as video is a better way to educate because it is interactive and thus an active way to learn. Individuals may get bored of reading, but watching videos can keep them hooked. Similarly, sharing testimonials of individuals dealing with mental health issues can help friends and family understand that mental health issues are real and cannot be “gotten over”, but rather that they require real assistance and support.
Don’t Just Hear– Listen Too
A common mistake made when it comes to mental health is that individuals focus on hearing the person without listening. For example, when someone speaks to them about mental health, they are more focused on hoping that the other feels listened to than actually listening. Instead of just hearing the other out, be active in your listening. Be proactive and respond to them, make them feel heard, and explain how you understand where they are coming from. Keep in mind that they trust you enough to come to you and speak to you about it, so you are able to help them. If, on the other hand, you are reaching out to them for help, make sure to let them know how they can help if they seem lost.
Of course, mental health issues are extremely serious and require a lot of attention. As such, it is important that you do not solely focus on helping others or having others help you, but that you find the right medical attention if you need it. Mental health issues can be overcome with time and the right help. It’s out there waiting for you.
The NIH is a great resource to find information about different mental health illnesses. They have videos, articles, and provide resources for each mental illness one may be facing. If you or someone you know needs this information, please be sure to pass it along. You can find them here.