How to talk to a friend about their mental health
Friends and loved ones can often feel helpless when trying to support someone struggling with their mental health.
Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Maite Ferrin was featured in the Daily Express in an article exploring how to support a friend with mental health concerns.
Below she shares her insight on how to discuss the subject of mental health with practical advice on giving support and solutions:
When broaching the subject of mental health this should be done with sensitivity. If your friend not ready to discuss their struggles or feelings, it’s important not to force them as this may escalate the problem or encourage them to withdraw. Ensure they know you are there for them and ready to talk.
If they are ready to talk, maintain an open line of communication and guarantee confidentiality. Sharing any relatable feelings or previous experiences can be hugely beneficial, letting them know they are not alone and their situation is not uncommon.
It’s important to approach slowly and with empathy, don’t be dismissive and remain calm and positive. It’s important not to get frustrated or upset as this may discourage them from talking.
Listen carefully to what they have to say and give them time to talk, resisting the urge to interrupt. Discuss the cause of their concern, whether this be work, finances or school giving positive advice and solutions to address this, helping to empower them to make changes and deal with their condition.
When struggling with mental health, it is common for the individual to focus on the negatives so reinforcing and celebrating their positive attributes and successes is a great way to counteract the negative feelings.
Exploring healthy coping mechanisms is vital; whether it’s exercise, deep breathing, meditation or taking up a new hobby it’s advisable to employ some tactics and distractions to help improve the mental health. It’s also important to discuss their sleep patterns to ensure they are having adequate sleep and rest. Sleep deprivation can exacerbate mental health conditions.
Finally, it’s imperative that individuals who are showing symptoms of depression or anxiety get professional help. Early intervention will help deliver the very best outcomes.
To read the full article in the Express visit:
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