Though it's essential to offer your support to a friend who has a mental disorder, people often hesitate to talk about these things as mental disorder is considered taboo in society. As a result, often, we are unsure how to approach the subject or spill beans related to the topic of mental health.
Some tips you can follow when offering a helping hand to a friend with mental health issues are:
1. Be calm, patient, and non-judgmental
Talking about mental health problems can be difficult for both of you, so try not to get angry or upset if your friend does not appear responsive.
2. Don't ignore comments about suicide or self-harm
"I wish I weren't here", "I need to end it all" – if your friend makes such statements, don't take it lightly. Immediately seek professional help. Even if you think the person is joking, talking about death isn't a normal subject for jokes.
3. Don't try to be a therapist
You aren't trained to diagnose and treat people who have mental health problems, so don't try to take on this role. What you can do is listen, support, accompany the person to an appointment with a therapist or doctor, and help him or her find appropriate professional help.
4. Listen carefully
Give your time and attention, without judging or trying to solve their problems for them. Sometimes just listening and letting someone know you care can help them feel better.
5. Be honest
If you don't know what to say, it's OK to admit you're not sure how to respond. Let the person know you care about them and want to help but may not always know what to do or say.
6. Learn more about the problem, its symptoms, and treatment
If your friend has depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, an eating disorder, or any other mental illness, it's important to learn as much as possible about it.
The more informed you are, the better equipped you'll be to support your loved one. You'll also be able to identify situations that may trigger symptoms so you can help your friend seek treatment before things get worse.
Encourage them to seek professional help
It's important to let your friend know that there is no shame in seeking help. In fact, it takes a great deal of courage and self-awareness to admit that you are struggling and take steps towards feeling better.
Therefore, recommend them good counseling and support services. Encourage them to opt for the best psychological counseling online. Professional help can make all the difference in helping them improve their mental health problems.