Winter is quickly approaching, and with that comes a lot. Thanksgiving, Christmas, freezing temperatures, snow, New Year's, the list goes on. And while celebrating with your family for the holidays and preparing to ring in the new year is a lot of fun, the winter season can bring some unpleasant things as well: like the onset of seasonal depression. In fact, winter seems to be the time where the majority of people's mental health seems to take a turn for the worst.
Mental health has become an increasingly popular topic of discussion in recent years, which is important because it also seems to be a growing problem. In a society as stressful as ours is lately, it makes sense to see things like depression and anxiety popping up more and more. The exorbitant amount of pressure that is put on people is a perfect indicator of this.
But another problem we have is how people that struggle with their mental health issues are treated. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, so why is it treated as such? There isn't one specific cause of mental illness, but biological, environmental, and psychological factors all contribute. It isn't something that someone can help having.
When people are suffering from mental illness, support from friends and loved ones is such a huge contributing factor to helping them through their struggles. And it isn't difficult to give to support. But it's astonishing how often "support" is given in the wrong way. Telling someone with anxiety "don't worry" is anything but helpful. It's like commanding a brick wall to move on its own; it simply won't happen.
The same goes for depression. Telling someone that is depressed not to be sad isn't supportive; it's almost insulting. If that were possible, no one in the world would be depressed. You can't just shut off emotions like that. You can't just make your mental health issues disappear with a snap of your fingers.
The easiest way to provide support is to simply be there for someone. Sure, you might not always know what to say to make the situation better, and that's okay. Sometimes there's nothing you can say to fix a situation. But if you tell someone struggling "hey, I'm here for you," that can go miles. Just a few words, if you mean them, can mean and help so much. Just physically being there for someone and providing that understanding and support can do wonders.