Supporting Mental Wellness: Effective Ways to Help Someone in Need

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Supporting Mental Wellness: Effective Ways to Help Someone in Need

Everybody goes through some tough times in their lives, and the people around us help us get through them. Then there are those times when we become worried about someone else’s mental health, like a friend, co-worker, or loved one. We want to help them, but aren’t always sure how!

If you happen to have a co-worker who you think is suffering from mental health problems there is help available from the employee assistance program, they have the know-how to identify the problem and provide proper support.

But what if it’s a family member or close friend who seems troubled? There are a number of ways you can help, but the first thing to do is to simply talk about it with them. Here are some tips to help you to do that:

Together Time – Make a point of setting aside some time together without any outside distractions, giving them a non-judgemental space where they can feel comfortable sharing their feelings.

Don’t Diagnose – It’s important not to try to diagnose them, or make guesses about their feelings, especially if you aren’t a trained counsellor or a mental health expert! Of course you should offer to talk with them and offer your support, but try not to make any assumptions about what it is that’s troubling them or why, and it’s best not to attempt to make an amateur diagnosis about what’s wrong with them, or offer up your best guess solutions- just letting them talk is enough.

No Pressure – Never try to pressure them into telling you anything they aren’t ready to discuss, even with the best of intentions! You should give them as much space as they need and let them share as little or as much as they feel comfortable doing. Give them the chance to lead the discussion at their own pace, and remember that just talking about a mental health problem at all, even with a friend or loved one, requires a great deal of courage and trust! Keep in mind that it’s possible that you are the first person they have decided to talk about it with, so all you need to do is be a good listener!

Ask Questions Carefully – Be careful to keep your questions open-ended, try not to second guess them by saying something like “You don’t look like you are feeling very well.”, instead ask “Would you like to share with me how you are feeling now?” Stay neutral and never appear judgmental. Give them time to answer your questions and share their feelings at their own pace, don’t subject them to a grilling by trying to get to the bottom of it! When they are ready to, they will talk to you.

The simple fact that you are patient and willing to listen can do wonders for a person suffering from mental health issues, bear in mind that they are probably afraid of their own feelings, so being able to trust you enough to share them is a big step! If you become concerned they may harm themselves, don’t hesitate to seek help by contacting Lifeline Australia, they are there when you need them! No one is ever alone, so get help!

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