Recently, I was asked by someone how they can help people who suffer from mental health. I kind of had to think about it for a minute before I replied. There are a lot of things you can do subtle and not. Now by no means am I a professional so I can’t dictate things that you should do and give you this long list that will automatically help someone who suffers from mental health. But as someone who suffers from mental illness, I can definitely give you some advice on how you can certainly help me or be an ally to help fight the outrageous stigma.
Speak Up About Mental Health
Talk about it. Have conversations with people about it. Your mother, your friend, your neighbor… anyone. There is nothing wrong with being depressed or having anxiety and panic attacks. It’s just as important as having a concussion or breaking a bone. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean you’re not sick. Talk about it and normalize it because it is normal.
Watch What You Say
Sometimes we become so numb to the way the world influences us. Be careful about the sentences that come out of your mouth when using words of mental health conditions. For example, “I’m depressed I have to go to school today because of that test kill me now.” When I was in school and my friends said this stuff to me it upset me. I felt like mental health was not taken seriously and I felt I was invalid for the way I felt. It seemed everyone was “depressed or had anxiety” so the ones that actually legitimately suffered were not taken seriously. Be aware of what you say and how you express yourself. You might affect someone who is suffering in silence.
Know what kind of conditions are out there. OCD, PTSD, Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Depression, Dermatillomania. There is so much to know and to learn. Mental health is complex but there is a huge benefit to understanding how these diseases affect people. I think you may even realize how much you have actually underestimated the diseases. It never hurts to educate yourself so you can be prepared. It is almost like learning CPR, someone could be having a panic attack or anxiety attack and you’ll be prepared to understand some of it and ask how you can help.
Stand Up Against Bullying
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overheard or been apart of conversations where people attack other people who have a mental illness. When you hear something, say something. There have been times where I have wanted to go to parties with friends or out somewhere and have a great time but the power of the “what if” voice was just too much for me. I’m already feeling down for being disappointed in myself. I don’t need someone to bully my own disappointment any further. Don’t let someone attack someone’s character due to their mental illness. They suffer from a disease that makes them act differently from how they really want to act. Stand up against the ignorant people who cause harm.
You may not understand mental health or how it works but that doesn’t mean you can’t be supportive. Remember mental health is not a one size fits all. No one person is the same. Just offer your support. Ask what you can do. Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen.
Donate To Charites Or Get Involved With Them
Bring Change 2 Mind (U.S.), Heads Together (England), Beyond Blue (Australia), Jed Foundation (U.S.) look them up and read about them. If you want to help but you just don’t know how. Donate money. They have the right resources to help people and your donation helps tremendously. If you don’t want to just donate then look at their get involved pages and see how you can help. Start being an awesome mental health warrior!
You just wanting to help or be involved is incredible. You are already helping abolish the stigma around mental health. Thank you for wanting to be involved. You are the change the world needs.