We have all been there. We all know a friend or member of our family who is struggling. We watch them from a distance unsure of how we can help them. We sit on the sidelines wishing we can read their minds so we know how we can help them. We get scared to make the first move and open up the lines of communication so that person knows we are there for them. I get it, I have been on both ends of the spectrum which is why I wanted to open a little bit and share five ways to reach out to someone who is struggling with their mental health and may be unable to ask for help themselves.
Check in on them
This one may be the obvious one but you will be surprised at how many people do not do this. Maybe because they feel they are being pushy or feel like they are forcing the person to share something they do not want to talk about. You do not have to delve into the heavy topics but routinely send them a message asking how they are, telling them about your day, may be arrange a plan as you would normally. Now I won’t lie, it may seem a bit motherly at times but trust me when I say when they are thinking clearly, they will appreciate it.
Keep a regular routine with them
Use to having a friend night every week? Use to some mother – daughter time? Keep this up for as long as you can. If someone is withdrawing because of their mental health, they may say no on a weekly basis. It will be challenging but keep asking them anyway. You may catch them at a time when they decide to take you up the offer. If you stop asking them, it will just make them feel even more isolated and when they they are finally in the place to reach out to you or just hang out, they will feel like they have no one to turn which will impact the next stage of their journey.
Reach out to charities/ organisations
Just as you would refer your friend to organisations such as The Samaritans, BEAT and Mind, reach out to them yourself. You are not expected to have all the answers and they will have the information you need to help your loved one. They will be able to guide you until the person is ready to reach to these organisations to get the help they need themselves.
I know it is not easy helping your loved ones, family or friends when they are going through a bad patch with their mental health. I talk about it more in this video if you fancy finding out more. I remember there were times I would cry and feel helpless like I was watching them free fall into a deep hole and all I could do was watch but believe me when I say by doing the above you will be helping them even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.