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How to Talk to Someone who has a Mental Health Illness?

Do you ever find yourself wanting to help someone you care about who is battling a mental health issue, but unsure of the best way to approach them? Many of us struggle with navigating conversations about mental illness. We are often times worried about saying the wrong thing or are not sure of how they would react.

Having a conversation about mental health can be intimidating, but it’s also one of the most supportive things you can do. This blog will help you with such discussions. Let’s break down the barriers and open the door to meaningful conversations about mental health.

Meaningful conversations about mental health

Choose the right time and place

Pick a moment when they seem relaxed and approachable. Avoid bringing it up during a stressful time or when they’re busy. Find a quiet, private space where you can talk comfortably without distractions.

Start with empathy

Let them know you care. Use sentences like “I have noticed you haven’t seemed yourself lately” or “I’m worried about you” This shows that you have been paying attention.

Focus on listening

The goal of your conversation is not to diagnose or offer solutions. Instead, listen actively and without judgment. Let them express themselves freely. Use open-ended questions like “How are you feeling?” or “Is there anything you’d like to talk about?

Validate their feelings

Mental health struggles can be isolating. Show them you understand by acknowledging their emotions. Say things like, “It sounds like you’re going through a tough time” or “That must be difficult” can go a long way.

Avoid comparing

Don’t compare their situation to someone else’s or try to mock their feelings. Words like “It could be worse” or “Everyone feels that way sometimes” can be discouraging and shut down communication.

Offer support

Don’t force them to talk about anything they’re not comfortable with. Let them know you’re there for them however they need you, whether it’s just listening or helping them find resources.

Respect their boundaries:

If they’re not ready to open up, respect that. You can always revisit the conversation later or suggest professional help if they seem open to it.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Educate yourself: Learn about common mental health conditions so you can understand what your loved one might be going through.
  • Be patient: Change doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient and supportive as they navigate their journey.
  • Take care of yourself: Providing support can be emotionally draining. Make sure to prioritize your well-being so you can continue to be a source of strength.

What if they need help?

Saksham Mental Wellness App

If your loved one expresses a desire for professional help, here’s how to help:

  • Look into therapists, support groups, or online resources that might be helpful.
  • Sometimes, the first hurdle can be simply scheduling an appointment. Offer to help with the process.
  • If they feel comfortable, offer to go with them to their first appointment.

You can’t force someone to get help, but by opening a conversation and offering support, you can create a safe space for them to heal.

Saksham is a mental wellness app that offers a variety of tools and resources to help you monitor your mental well-being and develop healthy habits for a happier, more balanced you.