Helping others with Mental Health Problems

As part of their Every Mind Matters campaign, Public Health England have launched a range of resources to support individuals and managers dealing with mental health issues.

Around 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues so it is likely we will come across friends, colleagues and family members who may be feeling anxious, stressed or low.

Who and how to support?

We can feel pressure as individuals that we may do or say the wrong thing when someone is in need of help. It is important to recognise our own limitations and to be aware you might not always be the best person to help.

Depending on the issue there can be things we can do to help, like listening, taking a break with them or checking in more frequently. When someone needs more help you can suggest that they talk to their GP or call NHS 111. Or in most areas, they could refer themselves directly for psychological therapy through their local IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service

There are also urgent numbers you can call or recommend.

Top things you can do to help from Every Mind matters

Express concern and say you can help : Letting someone know you’re worried is a good way to open up a conversation – it shows you care about the person, have time for them and that they do not have to avoid things with you.

Reassure them : The first time someone mentions their worries is a big step. It’s good to recognise this and reassure them. Let them know you’re there to listen when they need to talk.

Offer your time to listen : Listening is an important skill. Ask open questions that start with “how”, “what”, “where” or “when”. This can help people open up.

Act as you usually do together : Do what you usually do – behaving differently can make someone feel more isolated. Do not be afraid to offer kind words.

Be patient : You will not always know the full story. There may be reasons why they have found it difficult to ask for help. Just being there can be helpful for someone who may want to open up later.

If they do not want support : Gently explore their reasons for not wanting to get support. If they are unsure whether to get help, just talking and listening without judgement could help work out what’s getting in the way.

Do not force it : Do not force someone to talk to you or get help, and do not go to a doctor on their behalf. This may lead to them feeling uncomfortable, with less power and less able to speak for themselves.

Look after yourself : It can be upsetting to hear someone you care about in distress. Be kind to yourself and take some time to relax or do something you enjoy.

Offer practical help : Little acts of kindness – like offering to do the shopping, looking after children or pets, or offering to go to professional appointments with the person you’re helping – can help. Find out what works for them.

If you are an individual looking for support you can find the resources for you here.

If you are a manager looking to support team members you will find more materials here.

Republished from Every Mind Matters. First published here

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