Seeing a friend go through tough times can be heartbreaking for anyone, and we often don’t know how to offer them the support they need the most. Throughout this post, you can find tips to keep in mind for how to talk to a friend struggling with their mental health. But before we delve into them, let’s look at what not to say to someone with mental health issues.
Following are some words of encouragement, acknowledgment, and affirmation for someone struggling with mental health problems.
“Do you want to discuss it? I’m always available to help you.”
“Can you tell me what I can do to help?”
“That seems challenging; how do you deal with it?”
“Let’s go for a walk or somewhere quiet.”
“I’m so sorry you have to go through this. If you require assistance, I am available.”
And here are a few statements not to say to avoid coming off as insensitive or hurting the sentiments of someone going through these issues.
“I understand what you’re saying. When I saw my electric bill, I had a panic attack!”“Have you heard about the benefits of yoga or meditation? You can definitely try these out.”
“How come you’re not attending a therapist?” or “Why aren’t you taking your medicine?”
“Are you all right?”
“There are a lot of individuals in much worse situations than you.”
“You wouldn’t be so upset if….”
Now that we have learned what not to say to how to talk to a friend struggling with their mental health, let us look at how you can conduct yourself better and help your friends struggling with mental issues.
How to talk to your friend about mental health?
Mental health treatment stigma is common in society. Admitting you have mental health problems is a tricky thing for anyone because of this reason. You can encourage your friends to open up about mental health by showing vulnerability and starting from your problems. Ask them for help and what they would do if they were in your shoes. This will increase empathy and willingness to help in your group. Many communities are working to create a more inclusive environment, leading to better peer support and faster individual recovery.
Read more: How to create a good space for mental health using Web 3.0?
How to talk to someone having a mental breakdown?
Before learning how to talk to someone in a mental health crisis, ensure that they suffer from such a condition. They might be going through a tough time or need some time alone. You can show them you care and tell them they can open up if they are facing any problems. Try to avoid being too intrusive or in their face about the issues they are dealing with. This will make them less willing to share what they’re going through with you in the long run.
Secondly, don’t start by listing their faults or why you think they may be going through these problems. This shows a lack of empathy and invalidates what they are going through. Your friends might also share their issues as they want someone to listen to them. You can ask them whether they’re looking for advice or want you to listen before starting. An important part of how to talk to a friend struggling with their mental health is listening.
How to talk to a friend about their mental health?
You can try the following if you’re concerned about how to talk to your friend about mental health and want to help them avoid decisions that are not good for their health or well-being:
Make your friend aware of why you think their decision may be harmful. Remember to be civil and try to understand and empathize with their viewpoint. Dealing with mental health issues can be challenging, and acting out may be a call for help. If you think things are going south or your friend may be in danger, consult the 998 suicide and crisis lifeline.
So, how to talk to a friend struggling with their mental health? While you may want to help your loved ones, remember that you cannot do this without sufficient time and energy. Before trying to help others, ensure you have the energy, time, and resources to devote to them. If you can’t currently do much for them, show that you care by regularly sending words of affirmation and keeping in touch with them digitally.
How to talk to a friend with mental illness?
Take note of what they’re going through. There is no surefire way or definite formula to show your friend support. You may have a hard time wondering how to talk to a friend about their mental health if you don’t know what they’re going through. One thing you can do is read more about their situation and the experiences of those suffering from the same illness. This will help you get a better idea and understand them in the long run. It is also a way to show that you care about them and respect their needs.
Encourage Them To Get Diagnosed
If your friend is not yet diagnosed: If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re aware of what your friend is likely going through, or at least have a few conditions in mind. Remember not to diagnose your friend or encourage them to self-diagnose.
This is essential as many conditions may appear similar but have different origins, symptoms, or manifestations. Before diagnosing, it is best to go through professional counseling or a psychiatric analysis. A study by Annabel F discusses the dangers of self-diagnosing and the trend of doing so in the online age.
So, how to talk to a friend struggling with their mental health? Don’t treat them differently than you usually do. Assuming you treat your friends well, it is also good to let them know that your attitude toward them hasn’t changed due to a mental illness. If your friend is pursuing treatment and on the road to recovery, you know they now have the tools to navigate a holistic lifestyle.
Encourage Them To Go To Therapy
If your friend is hesitant to try therapy or has problems pursuing their treatment, don’t discourage or force them to continue their medication or counseling sessions. Many different therapy options are available; finding the right one takes time and energy.
You also might feel frustrated from the lack of responses, their unwillingness to change their decision, or bad habits which keep coming back. Understand that learning how to talk to a friend with mental illness takes time. Likewise, recovery from a mental illness is not easy and doesn’t happen in a day. Healing occurs with time through self-care activities, cognitive resources, and healthy habits, among other steps.
How to talk to someone in a mental health crisis?
You should remember to be patient with someone going through a mental health crisis. They might not feel comfortable answering your questions or sharing their problems immediately. And be on the lookout for signs of self-harm or suicidal ideation.
So, how to talk to a friend struggling with their mental health? Letting them know someone cares for them and wants to be near them is essential. This will help them throughout recovery as they learn to value and acknowledge themselves as valuable. It also increases their low self-esteem in the long run. You can also suggest activities that are good for mental health or activities you can pursue together. The latter might take their mind off a negative bias.
People going through mental illnesses often adopt a negative inner dialogue. They put themselves down, see themselves as failures, and don’t think anyone cares for them. By showing that you care and value them, not by their achievements but by who they are as people, you give them the respect they deserve but never receive. This encourages them to have a more optimistic outlook toward life and practice self-validation.
How do you tell someone about your mental health?
You may need mental health support and are unsure how to share this with your friends or loved ones. Here are some tips on how to talk to someone about getting mental help:-
Firstly, you need to know when to get help and appreciate the efforts of your loved ones. They will also trust you more as you are willing to share your problems with them. This doesn’t mean you have to tell them everything. You can take things at your own pace and say what you’re comfortable saying.
Suppressing your mental illness and acting like you’re OK is an option many people take, but it is unhealthy and reduces the quality of your life and relationships over the long run. One example of this is smiling depression. Learning how to talk to a friend about your mental health will teach you vulnerability and provide essential life lessons for being open about sensitive issues.
You can also think of yourself as an example. Others in your family, peer group, and workplace will be less afraid to speak out about their mental health issues if they have seen you do the same. You can secure the help of mental health services near you or opt for affordable online therapy platforms to get professional help.
As you try to be healthier, you will focus more and need to take a mental health day off, redeem the benefits of self-care activities, improve mental health awareness, and do things that bring value to your life. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your self-help journey. These changes in your usual lifestyle may feel disorienting to those who know you at first. Here are some times how to talk to a friend about your mental health:-
-Tell them your health is a priority, but this doesn’t mean you value them any less.
-Show them that you’re grateful in life because of their company and want to continue being with them.
-Spend quality time with them and give them gifts to show appreciation. Following are some gift ideas for your friend to help you do the same.
Now you have learned how to talk to a friend struggling with their mental health. Talking to a friend needing mental health support can seem challenging but is easily manageable if you keep a few things in mind. If you play your cards right, you can support your friend through a mental illness, help them grow and recover, and deepen your connection with them over time.
One of the reasons your friend’s treatment may take a long time to have effects is a lack of motivation to recover. This is not because they don’t want to get well but because they have grown discouraged and lost hope of recovery from this condition. Here are some of the best motivational podcasts to inspire your friend.
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