Jan 24, 2024 | Mental Health

How to Support Someone’s Mental Health

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Understanding and supporting someone with mental health issues can be challenging, especially if you haven’t personally experienced these struggles. Often, individuals with mental health challenges don’t necessarily seek understanding as much as they need support, empathy, and love amidst their daily struggles. A strong support system is crucial for everyone, but it’s particularly vital for those grappling with mental health issues. In this article, we’ll discuss ways to support someone’s mental health with kindness and compassion. 

“It is social support that builds people up during times of stress and often gives them the strength to carry on and even thrive.”

verywell mind 

Be Educated 

If you lack firsthand experience with mental health issues, it may be difficult to comprehend what someone is going through. Therefore, it’s helpful to research and learn about their specific diagnosis or disorder. While you might not fully understand what it’s like, educating yourself enables you to be a better support person and offer appropriate guidance if necessary. 

Practice Active Listening 

Often, people just need someone to listen, not necessarily to provide advice or opinions. When asked for input, be gentle with your words. Most importantly, listen actively, creating a safe and judgment-free environment. Active listening involves full attention, eye contact, verbal and non-verbal cues, and acknowledgment of what they are saying. 

Asking questions for clarification or further information is a good way to gain more understanding and continue your education on the subject. 

Respect Boundaries 

While being available is important, respecting boundaries and personal space is equally crucial. Avoid being pushy; instead, reassure them that you are there when they are ready to talk, and honor the boundaries they set. 

Offer to Help 

Day-to-day activities can be overwhelming for those struggling with mental health. Offer practical assistance, such as picking up groceries, cooking, cleaning, or running errands. These tasks, while seemingly small, can be significant challenges for them. Small acts of kindness can make a big difference. 

In cases where you feel the individual needs more than social support, suggest seeking help from a mental health professional. Offer assistance in researching options and making appointments, as taking the first step towards getting help can be daunting. 

If you or someone you know needs help, The Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line offers a 24/7 confidential service, providing support, information, and referrals for those experiencing mental health concerns in Alberta. Other resources are also available here

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