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5 Effective Ways to Provide Mental Health Support

If you think someone you know may be struggling with their mental health, it is important to remember there is hope and support.

This article explores how showing compassion, being a good listener and providing companionship can make a significant difference to someone going through mental health challenges.

Quick takeaways

  • Checking in with a friend or loved one and starting an open conversation is a significant first step in supporting them through mental health challenges.
  • Listening is just as important as talking. Show empathy and take the time to listen actively when your friends want to talk.
  • Providing resources is one way to support a friend with mental health challenges.

Early mental health warning signs

We are often in the best position to notice the early warning signs of mental health challenges in those we are close to.  If you notice a loved one who stops doing social activities, starts experiencing significant mood swings or struggles to concentrate in school or at work, they could be struggling with mental health.

Mental health conditions often thrive in silence; your decision to break that silence can make a difference. It’s important to let them know you care and that you’re there for them. Your awareness and concern can encourage them to seek help and find the support they need.

Paying attention to sudden changes in thoughts and behaviors is especially important. If you see these critical warning signs, speak up immediately. If you or someone you know is in crisis now, call 988 to speak with the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Tips for providing mental health support

Mental health stigma is a widespread issue in our society, affecting those dealing with mental health challenges. This deep-rooted stigma often leads to misunderstandings and makes people hesitant to seek help.

By breaking down these barriers and the stigma associated with mental health, we can create a more compassionate and supportive community. We can help individuals feel empowered to share their struggles and seek the necessary assistance without fear of judgment.

To be supportive, we recommend following these five suggestions.

  1. Stay Involved

Simple acts of kindness can go a long way. Check on your friends regularly, especially during stressful times like exams or personal challenges. Doing positive and enjoyable activities together can be therapeutic.

  • Communicate Openly

By promoting an atmosphere of acceptance, you contribute to breaking down the barriers that often surround mental health. You can help by offering a safe, non-judgmental opportunity for the person to talk about their feelings and concerns. If you need help with what to say, follow this outline from the Mental Health Coalition.

  • Be Empathetic

Take the time to listen actively when your friends want to talk. Sometimes, just having someone willing to hear their thoughts and feelings without judgment can be immensely comforting. Don’t hesitate to express your concern genuinely and let them know you’re there for them. Show empathy, validate the person’s feelings and listen intently without thinking about a reply or counter their feelings.

If you notice they aren’t ready to talk, don’t pressure them as it can make them feel uncomfortable. Simply be patient, stay calm and make yourself available to them.

  • Respect Privacy

Always respect someone’s need for privacy, especially if they’re struggling with mental health challenges. Treat them with dignity and support them, but don’t push them to share more than they’re comfortable with.

  • Be Alert

Knowing when and how to give mental health support can be difficult to figure out, so it’s important to stay alert. Mental health professionals are always ready to step in and deliver the support and guidance required.

Offering to accompany this person to an appointment or helping them find resources can be an invaluable contribution to their well-being.

If you notice any signs of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or a sudden worsening of the condition, seek help immediately. You can call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 for immediate support and assistance. They are available 24/7 to give you immediate support and assistance.

Remember, it’s okay not to be okay. But there are times when it may be more than just a challenge; it could be a diagnosable mental health condition like anxiety, depression, or ADHD.

Supporting mental health and raising awareness creates a caring community that values everyone’s well-being. The key is to maintain open lines of communication, provide unconditional support and encourage your friend or loved one to seek professional help when needed.

Graphic image of ways you can support someone who has mental health challenges.

Mental health matters featured photo shared by Emily Underworld of Unsplash  

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