So you have just found out your BFF has been suffering from poor mental health for a while now and never really realised. But what do you say when you next see them? Should you mention it? Should you ask them questions about it? Here are ten things that you really should be saying to a friend or loved one with known mental health problems…
10 – How Are You Feeling Today?
It’s important to add the “today” part to this polite question as sometimes the day by day mood can change in a heartbeat. So ask them how they are feeling at that time, on that day and not overall as this may cause them to think over the bad times.
9 – Do You Remember When…
This is a great way to talk to anyone you know with a mental health problem. By reminding them of a fun time you once had, or when something funny happened as it will remind them that there have been good times and fun times in the past and there could be once again.
8 – Do You Want a Hug?
Called a “Cwtch” here in Wales it is the physical embracement that counts and sometimes a single hug can be worth a thousand words. Don’t even ask them for one, just reach out and give them a hug.
7 – Fancy Going For A Walk?
This is a great way to get your friends out and about in the fresh air. Sometimes even a silent walk in the woods or local park can do someone with mental health problems the world of good. It doesn’t have to be a long walk, just somewhere outdoors is fine.
6 – Talking about Mental Health
You don’t have to do a load of research and understand the ins and outs of mental health, sometimes it is nice for the person suffering from it to know you are trying to understand their problems and that is enough. But the more you understand about their condition, the more you can help.
5 – Remind Them You Are There For Them
This is not about being there on the end of the phone or a Facebook message, but going with them to therapy and being the best support friend you can be. Sometimes that will involve a shoulder to cry on and sometimes it will be a listening ear.
4 – Even if I don’t understand, I will listen
It’s important to make sure they know you always have an open ear for their problems, even if you don’t really understand what they are going through. Just having an ear to chew off is a great way for them to release some pressure they are feeling.
3 – Fancy Getting a Coffee?
To someone who is feeling a little low a nice walk to get a cup of coffee from a local Starbucks or other coffee shops can be a breath of fresh air and really help them to relax. Just remind them that it is just the offer of coffee and nothing else. If they want to sit there in silence drinking it that is fine.
2 – I’m Not Going Anywhere
This might sound like a basic statement, but it’s powerful to the person you are saying it to. Reminding them that you are not going to stop being their friend and that it could even make your friendship bond even greater. No matter how bad things get…I’m not going anywhere.
1 – We Can Survive This
It might sound better if you tell them that “they” can survive this, but to someone with depression they might not be feeling strong enough to survive it, so by telling them “WE” can survive this represents that you will be with them every step if the way, even though the bad times.
While I have named ten things to say to someone with a mental health issue I bet there are many more and if you know of something that you can say do let us all know in the comments below.