Talk (and listen) about Mental Health

Talk about mental health with your friends and family

Talking openly about Mental Illness allows people to feel more comfortable sharing their problems with you. More people being open about mental illness contributes in reduction of stigma associated with mental illness. Use social gathers to bring about the topic on mental health. Reinforce facts, remove myths and encourage everyone to seek care. Inform that mental illness is like any other illness. It can be treated.

So speak to your family and friends about mental illness. Educate them on how mental illnesses are diagnosed and how negative perception is stopping people in seeking care.

Talk to your children about mental health. Inform them that you understand and care for people with mental illness. Talk to your children about forms of bullying at school and encourage your children to inform you as soon as it happens.

Educate everyone about the harms of stigma. Encourage them not to use derogatory terms like crazy, mad, psycho etc.

Reinforce that mental illness is like any other illness and can be successfully managed.

Inform them that creating positive environment for people living with mental illness helps save lives.

Opening up about mental illness can be daunting. It takes real courage to share deeply personal information to someone. The person may also be nervous about how things will go and what you would think of him/her.

If someone tries to speak to you about his/her mental health, use the following strategies to make it easier for him/her to share their difficulties:

Listen. Let them finish their sentences and complete thoughts without interrupting. After they have finished you can respond.

Let them know if you understand. If someone has just shared their story and you’ve gone through something similar—tell them. It helps a lot for someone to know they aren’t alone. Make sure you don’t switch the topic of conversation to your struggles though; focus on their needs.

Avoid being judgmental. Don’t tell them that they are being weird or crazy; it’s not helpful at all.

Take them seriously. Try not to respond with statements that minimize how they are feeling or what they are going through, such as, “You’re just having a bad week,” or “I’m sure it’s nothing.”

Make yourself available to talk again if needed. While it can be a big relief for someone to share something, they have been keeping secret, mental health struggles usually aren’t solved with one conversation.  Let the person who has spoken with you know that they can reach out to you again if they are having a tough time.

Don't turn what you've been told into gossip. If someone is talking to you about their mental health, it was probably tough for them to work up the nerve to say something in the first place and you shouldn’t share what they tell you with other students at school. Let them share on their own terms.

If you don't understand, do some research and learn about what you've been told. Make sure that your information is coming from reliable sources like www.mhanepal.org. Be mindful that there are many expert websites that are not necessarily correct. Always refer to the one that is known to be valid and managed by a reliable organization.

Lead that person to expert help: Mental illness at times need comprehensive care by the combination of a counsellor or a psychotherapist and a medical doctor. Encourage that person to seek care soon. For the list of care providers, click in this link to learn about MHA recommended champion mental health service providers.

Encourage to inform a family member if the person indicates that he/she has thoughts or plans of self-harm:It’s important to have friends that trust you, but if a friend indicates they have thoughts or plans of hurting themselves or another person, have been hearing voices or seeing things that no one else can hear or see, or have any other signs and symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored then you need to encourage the person to tell a family member or a care taker. In such cases, urgent help is needed.

Stories

Living with someone with Bipolar disorder

My mom is a sufferer of bipolar disorder. Her condition first developed when..

-- Anonymous

State of well-being

Mental health is a “state of well-being in which we are able to develop our unique potential, cope with the stressors of life, work productively and fruitfully, build strong,

-- Anonymous

On Anxiety & Freedom: Saurav's Story

Neurosis is a living hell for those who suffer from it since it creates an entropy of chaos and order in our mental faculties. An individual seems normal from the outside, but his/her daily life is affected in an unprecedented way.

-- Saurav
Top