When it comes to mental wellness, it’s a sad fact that we aren’t doing too well in this country. According to statistics, 42.5 million American adults suffer from some kind of psychological problem, and the truth is that many never receive the proper treatment they deserve.
Why is this? There is still something of a stigma attached to mental health, and it means that sufferers, employers, family, and friends would rather brush incidents under the carpet rather than do something about it. And it’s worrying. After all, when you suffer a physical injury, people will flock to you and offer you their best wishes. But suffer from a mental breakdown or develop a psychological condition, and they are more likely to run a mile.
Ultimately, there is a good chance that you or someone you know will experience a mental health issue at some point in life – and if you want to help, there are a few things you need to know. Here’s how you can provide support to a friend or family member who is having troubles.
Just be there
First of all, as mentioned in the intro, a lot of people don’t know how to deal with mental health issues so will just keep out of the way. But imagine being that person going through all that stress and seeing the people you like and respect turn their back on you? Unpleasant, isn’t it? So, it‘s important to be there for your friend, show your support, and let them know you are there for them. Friends and close family members play a close role in helping others recover, so you are a vital cog in the wheel.
Not sure how to help? Then do something practical. Maybe you could go with your friend to their psychological check-ups and offer your support that way. Or maybe you could spend time explaining the disability benefits for mental health that are available. It could even be something as picking them supplies up from the mall on your way home for work, or going out for a drink on a quiet night. Ultimately, it’s all down to your friend’s direct needs, so offer precise help – as well as your general support.
One of the reasons why no one in the general public understands mental health issues is that it isn’t taught in school. It’s important to educate yourself as much as possible about your friend’s condition, so you know what to expect and can be as much help as possible.
Encourage healthy behavior
Many people with mental health issues feel like giving up in more ways than one. Drinking too much alcohol, taking drugs and abusing medication, and eating unhealthy food are all common problems. With this in mind, try and encourage your friends to focus on healthy behavior – be encouraging without demanding, and supportive without interfering.
Mental health issues can affect anyone at any time. And as a society, it’s important that we start making the changes we want to see – and you can begin by offering the right kind of help to your friends and family.