There has been a lot written about what we can do for people suffering from mental health issues, but I always felt that the advice while good was missing something. This is my small attempt to round the advice out a little:
1. Be a Friend
This has been covered in lots of other posts - just be there for someone who may be struggling. You don’t have to be their therapist, just have a chat.
Insight: They may seem OK and happy and smiling, but they may have had to put a lot of effort into just meeting and maybe wiped out after. Don’t let this put you off, but it does link into the next point.
2. Care for a carer
This may be the husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister or children (even adult ones) or just a friend of the one they are caring for.
They will just need to get away from it all and talk about or do something normal or offload their frustrations. Just be a friend.
Insight: They pick up the pieces on a daily basis, sometime its good, sometimes not so good. The one they care for may have met a friend (good), but now they are wiped out, or just struggling (not so good), the carer will then spend their time looking after them putting their own wellbeing to one side. Or they may be caring for someone in hospital (mental health ward) or who have just been released; both of these are stressful in their own ways.
3. Just say hello
We have all been held up at the station with the announcement ‘someone on the line’, which we all know what this actually means.
If you see someone who doesn’t seem quite there, just say ‘hello’. It may be all they need to bring them back from the brink and give a chance for those around you to get help.
Insight: I missed an opportunity to do this walking over Blackfriars Bridge one night and will always regret not stopping just to say hello.
The above is not going to solve the mental health problems of the nation, but every little bit of support will help in some way.
This article was originally published in May 2019 for Mental Health Awareness Week