It can be difficult to know how to support someone with a mental health problem therefore, I am writing a blog on how you can support someone who is going through anxiety and depression.
How to support someone who has anxiety disorder/s:
- Learn about Anxiety
Unless you have personal experience of having an anxiety disorder then it is challenging to understand how your friend/family member may be feeling. Although it is different, try to think about how you feel when you’re anxious about something and how you would want people to help you – this may assist you in having a greater understanding of what they’re going through.
- Be patient
It is really important that you don’t pressure someone to do something before they feel that they’re ready to as, even though you want to help that person face their fears, it can be really distressing for that person to do so before they feel they’re ready – it can even lead to that person being more anxious. Therefore, by staying calm and communicating with your friend/family member, you can support them to do what they feel comfortable doing.
- Simply ask them how you can help
By asking your friend/family member what you can do to help them, may help that person to feel more in control. For example, you can offer them a distraction or to deep breath with them.
- Dont forget to look after yourself
Looking after someone else can take its toll on your own emotional and physical wellbeing therefore, its important that you look after yourself. I recently wrote a blog on ways you can look after your mental health, click here to find out more.
- Encourage them to seek help
The majority of people who experience anxiety as well as other mental health disorders, usually confide in friends and family before they speak to a health professional. You can offer them: emotional support such as listening and offering reassurance as well as, practical support like creating a list of questions or going to appointments with them when encouraging them to seek help. However, it is important to remember that you cannot force anybody to seek help if they do not want it nevertheless, you should let that person know that it is okay to seek help and that there is help out there.
When supporting someone with depression you can follow the above points as well as the following:
- Be open
By being open to depression you are also open to the difficult emotions that your friend/family member may be feeling and it is important to be open about it as it lets that person know that it is okay to talk about what they’re going through.
- Dont be critical or judge
If you have not experienced depression first hand, you will not know how it feels therefore, may find it difficult to understand why your friend/family member can’t just ‘get over it’. Therefore, by learning more about depression you will be able to understand what that person may be going through and how to best support them – its important you don’t place any blame or pressure on them as they’re more than likely already doing just that.
When you see a friend or loved one struggling, you may feel inclined to take control and do everything for them however, it is important that you encourage that person to do as many things as possible. Everyone is different and will want different support therefore talk to your friend/family member about what they may find useful to have your help whilst finding things that they can do independently.
If you have a friend or a family member who is going through a mental illness that is not anxiety or depression click here to find out how you can support them (it is a list of all mental health disorders and how you can support them).
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog and you found it helpful. I will be uploading blog post number six tomorrow so make sure you keep an eye out. Also, don’t forget to subscribe or alternatively follow my instagram/facebook/twitter @sineadmatanle to keep up to date with my latest blog posts.