How YOU can help someone's mental health
Have you noticed that your friend or flatmate has started to suffer with their mental health?
For them, having someone there to talk to and support them when they are feeling down can really help, it's just about knowing how to help.
It can be difficult to know what to do if you've never experienced something like this before, but here are some simple tips that can really make a difference when they need it the most:
1. Be positive and uplifting
No matter what they are going through, they will have good days and bad days. Encourage them to keep positive as talking about anything negative will just make them feel worse, be that positive person they want to be around.
2. Make them feel involved
If you have plans or are going out with your friends, involve them in this. They may not want to join but letting them know they are invited will make them feel much better.
3. Don't make them feel like an inconvenience
You don't want to make them feel worse, so saying things like 'cheer up will you' or 'you're always bringing the mood down' definitely won't get either of you anywhere. Let them know you are there to talk to when they really need it.
4. Don't be too invasive
If you're interested in genuinely helping them then great, but asking way too many personal questions can make them feel uncomfortable and look like you're just being nosey.
5. Give them space when they need it
If they don't join in on group activities, don't give them grief about it or make them feel bad. This will only push them further away and it will have a lasting negative effect on them.
6. Tell them everything is going to be OK
Something as simple as 'it's going to be OK' can go a long way when they're having a bad day; it will give them the encouragement they need and something they might not have heard in a while.
7. Let them know you're not judging them
The stigma around mental health might make people think they're going to be judged and that they can't talk about their problems. That's why you need to let them know that you don't think they're weird just because they suffer from mental health.
8. Help them however you can
It's important to help them whenever and wherever you can but know when it's the right time to pass it onto someone further. This could mean telling their family, staff in their accommodation or recommending them to contact student services to get the support they really need.
Together we can all break the stigma around mental health!
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