Mental health is a hot topic these days with many people suffering from increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems during the pandemic. More and more people are seeking mental health support and one of the good things to come out of the pandemic is that there are now more open conversations about mental health and an increase in convenient services that people can access to get the help and support that they need, such as self-help apps and remote therapy.
Whether or not your mental health has been personally impacted by the pandemic, chances are that you might know somebody who is struggling with their mental health and wellbeing as a result of the crisis. If you are close to somebody who is dealing with heightened depression, anxiety, social anxiety, or other mental health concerns due to COVID19, you might be wondering if there is anything that you can do to help and support them. Perhaps they are not sure where to turn to for help themselves and have confided in you that they could use some support.
Having a loved one or friend deal with mental health concerns can be a tough time for anybody. Nobody likes to see the people that we love struggling, especially if it is having an impact on their day-to-day life, preventing them from enjoying things, or impacting their overall health and wellbeing. Perhaps you are worried about the risk of your loved one hurting themselves or developing problems such as addiction to alcohol or drugs as a result of their mental health right now. The good news is that you are not powerless in this situation. While you might not be able to make it all go away for them, there are lots of different ways that you can help and support them right now.
Help With Finding a Therapist
One of the best options for people who are going through a tough time with their mental health is talking therapy. Talking therapies like CBT provide people with the option to get to the root of the problem and understand why they are feeling a certain way and what they can do about it. It takes control back from the mental health condition itself and puts it firmly in the hands of the person who is in therapy.
Therapy can help with a lot of mental health conditions including chronic stress, anxiety, social anxiety, depression, and other more serious disorders. One of the best things that you can do to help a loved one who is struggling with their mental health right now is to help them research suitable therapists and find the right one for them. While there’s a lot of counselor stress currently, due to more people seeking therapy as a result of the pandemic, online therapy has made it easier for patients and counselors to be connected and lessened the load on these professionals, making it easier for people to find help when they need it most.
Listen and Be There
Sometimes the best thing that you can do to help somebody who is struggling with their mental health is to simply be there for them and listen to their concerns. Many people who are dealing with mental health problems will often feel like they are burdensome to others and might struggle to open up as a result. Being there to listen and making it clear that you care about this person and want to help them can make all the difference in how they feel and encourage them to open up to you, which can be the first step in them getting better. Try not to overwhelm them with too many solutions or try to contest how they are feeling; the best thing to do is simply validate their feelings and let them know that you are there for them in any way that you can be. Sometimes, simply asking if they want support or suggestions can be a good way to get a conversation started with somebody who is feeling down or anxious.
Offer Practical Support
Mental health can often take a toll on a person’s physical life and their ability to take care of themselves. If you have noticed that your loved one does not seem to be doing household chores as often as they normally would, is neglecting their personal hygiene, or not eating very well, chances are that this is a result of the condition that they are currently dealing with. If you are in a position to do so, one of the best things that you can do is gently offer them some practical support.
Some people might not want to take this out of fear of feeling like a burden, so don’t be offended if they decline the offer but do let them know that it is always there, and you are happy to help when needed. In addition, you can always do some simple things for them like cooking them a meal or getting some groceries in for them if you notice that they are struggling. If they agree to it, helping them clean their house or even helping with personal hygiene such as washing their hair or taking them for an appointment at a beauty salon can help make a massive difference to how they feel and help in their recovery.
Keep in Contact
Often, people who are suffering from poor mental health will become isolated from others. If you are not aware of their situation, it can be easy to simply assume that they are busy or even that they don’t want to talk to you. But the truth of the situation is usually quite different from what you would expect.
Many people who are struggling with their mental health would like to reach out to others for support and socializing but do not know where to start or feel that they would become a burden to you if they did. One of the best things that you can do is proactively keep in touch and check up on them from time to time to ask if they are OK and if they need anything from you. Sometimes, it’s nice to just talk to them about everyday things and keep their mental health out of the conversation, as living with it can be overwhelming enough without having to talk about it with people all the time too.
Suggest Things to Do
For somebody who is battling depression, getting out of bed can be a struggle – let alone taking part in the things that they used to enjoy. For some people, there is simply no motivation to do the things that they used to never miss out on.
If you know somebody who is currently feeling this way, you can help them find the joy in things again by suggesting things to do that are not going to be so taxing on them. For example, something simple like having a movie night at home and ordering in a pizza can help them get some relief from their condition for a while and remember what it feels like to do something fun with a friend or relative. Bear in mind that it might take a while for them to re-find their motivation to do things that they enjoy, and sometimes professional help will be needed. Try not to overwhelm them with suggestions and come up with ideas that don’t require a lot of work to help ease them back into it.
The burdensome feeling that comes with dealing with a mental health condition can be overwhelming and debilitating for a lot of people. Many people with depression and anxiety begin to feel that they are simply annoying the people that care about them and that they are draining to others. Most of the time they would give anything to feel and act differently but are unable to.
If you’re close to somebody who is feeling like this, one of the best things that you can do is simply remind them how much you appreciate and care for them. Making sure that they understand that for you, their mental health does not define them and you’re going to appreciate who they are whether they’re healthy or not feeling great can be simple yet powerful.
Consider Medical Help
In some cases, mental health conditions can get very serious and take over a person’s life in many different ways. If you have a friend or relative who is currently struggling at work or home, struggling financially, or developing an addiction as a result of their mental health, they may need intervention. In most cases, getting them the medical and professional help that they need as early as possible will be effective. Inpatient and outpatient mental health clinics can be an ideal choice for people who need more intense help.
Watching somebody you love struggle with their mental health is never easy. However, there are several things that you can do to make sure that they are supported throughout their ordeal.
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