Research suggests that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health issue each year. The symptoms and causes of these issues vary from person to person, however there are a number of things that you can do to make it a bit easier for someone if you think they may be affected by a mental health problems.
If someone confides in you about symptoms theyíre having that may be troubling for them, know that it has probably taken that person a lot of effort to come and speak to you. Even if you donít know what to say, just making sure that your friend knows that youíre there for them to come and talk to when youíre needed can reassure someone suffering from a disorder and is a big step in making them feel that they donít have to go through it alone. Let the person know that youíre there for them if youíre needed and that theyíre not being a burden.
Try to recognise that things that may not seem like an issue for you can be a massive source of stress for someone with a mental health issue. Therefore, having an awareness of things that may increase these feelings is helpful. For example, if someone has anxiety, commenting on the fact that they are a picky eater can make someone feel even more insecure about it. If you know someone who is prone to low moods, suddenly cancelling plans without giving a reason might make them feel like they are to blame and you donít want to see them. This doesn’t mean you should wrap a person in cotton wool, but making yourself more aware of how your actions may affect certain people differently can make situations a lot easier for someone with a mental health issue.
However, it may also be helpful to encourage this person to overcome small, manageable obstacles. If they’re worried about meeting new people, offer to join a society with them to lend support, rather than them facing it alone. If they’re scared about going to a doctor, maybe suggest that you go with them and stay in the waiting room so it seems less daunting. Make sure your friend knows that youíre there to support them.
Most importantly, if you think you know someone who may have a mental health issue and it is negatively impacting their life, encourage them to seek help. There are a number of different methods and treatments medical practitioners can recommend to attempt to make mental health problems easier to live with and the sooner a person seeks help, the sooner they will experience the positive effects.