Mental health is something that is important to me and I have realized needs more attention. I know numerous people who have struggled with their mental health, whether it be depression, anxiety, or trauma-related issues. There is one thing that I have learned from being around those who have struggled with these types of issues: each person and their situation is different and unique to them. Some people need to talk about their situation and vent. Others don't want to talk about it but still want to feel like you are there for them.
One of the biggest things you can do that helps significantly is simply asking, "How can I help you or support you through this?". Sometimes you will get an answer where someone wants to talk about it, and other times people will say they don't want to talk about it and they aren't sure how you can help them. If their answer is the latter, you might simply say something like "That's OK, can I just sit with you?". Or if it's through the phone it could be something like, "do you mind if we stay on the line and talk about something else?". The biggest thing you can do for someone struggling is to make them feel heard and supported.
Letting someone know you are there for them is the first and arguably one of the most important steps to being able to help them.
The next step is to periodically check on them or letting them know you support them. I just recently had a very close friend go through a very challenging time which resulted in having to make some tough decisions. I tend to send her a message at least once every three weeks, sometimes more. All I say in these messages is that I love her and that I am proud of her for doing the hard work to make herself healthier. I always say that I am there for her and am here to support her no matter what. Even though this is a small gesture, sometimes it can go a long way. This little message has the power to bring a little bright spot to someone's day no matter how dark.
As I have made clear in this article, mental health is important and a daily struggle.
Being there for someone can also take a toll on your mental health. Remember to check in with yourself often and if you need help, contact someone. It doesn't have to be a professional, but it could be anyone from a friend, coworker, boss, teacher, family member, or maybe it needs to be a professional like a therapist.
Mental health is so important and you should always take it seriously. Make sure to get the help you or someone you are close with needs.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255