World Mental Health Day: Part Two

Hello, hello. 

Has the week treated you alright?

In our last newsletter, we touched on the topic of mental health awareness and the importance of acknowledging it. Today, we’re going to set the next five minutes aside for ourselves and the people around us. 

Take a seat, grab a cup of tea and that piece of chocolate you’ve been saving – let’s get to it.

Three signs that someone you love is struggling with their mental health*:

1. They’re withdrawn.

Lunch dates and dinner plans are now a thing of the past. They’re blatantly avoiding plans or making excuses to get out of the ones you’ve already made. When you do see them, they’re exhausted and looking a little thinner.

2. They’re not functioning as well as they used to.

That colleague or classmate that sits two tables from you. They’re constantly making mistakes despite previously being adept and proficient at work or in social settings; they might disengage from conversations or appear unable to carry out daily activities.

3. They’re thinking and acting peculiarly.

Peculiarity is a spectrum. Ranging from references of the hopelessness and pointlessness of life to the impulsive sale of their belongings, individuals battling with poor mental health planning for the end of their life might make moves to tie up loose ends. 

What can you do to help?

1. Listen.

Without judgement, with your undivided attention. Allow for the discussion to take place at their pace. Have an open mind and understand that you are not here to fix their problems, you are here to listen.

2. Help them find support.

This might mean being present and providing moral support when they are speaking with a close friend or family member; or paying the GP a visit with them, so that they can receive the necessary and adequate treatment needed.

3. Educate yourself.

Familiarise yourself with the resources available online. Acknowledge stigmas against mental illnesses and work towards identifying others as an individual, not a label.

If you’re struggling with mental health:

1. Take care of yourself.

Prioritise your mental health before others. It would do no good to lose yourself in the midst of saving others; more so, you’ll be able to better help others when you’re at a good place yourself.

2. Be patient.

Recovery takes time. Just like any other illness, recovering from a depressive episode or an event that shatters the state of your mental health takes time and effort. Treat yourself with the same level of grace and compassion as you would someone you love.

3. Reach out.

Talk to someone – a family member or a friend, the GP or a trained counsellor on the other end of the hotline. Do expect that the individual you are confiding in might not fully understand your situation, or they might react in a way you weren’t expecting – don’t take it personally when this happens, find other individuals to confide in instead.

The best way to help yourself and others around you is to be aware and educated.

Remember to be kind to yourself.

We’ll see you soon.

Til’ then.

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