Hey everyone, how are you?
I realised recently that while I have offered a lot of advice for those amongst you that are yourself suffering from a mental illness, I haven’t really told you what you could do to help anyone else suffering, so today that is what I intend to do!
I guess that firstly we should decide exactly how we can tell if someone is suffering with a mental illness… (Some of these are much more extreme and will affect people with severe mental illnesses, normally the signs will be more subtle)
- Loss of activities and interest in things that previously enjoyed (with me it tends to be reading, watching films or TV when I am ill).
- Poor performance at work.
- Extreme mood swings from extreme happiness to sadness and tears.
- Change in eating habits, from over-eating to not eating at all. (The last time that I was ill with depression, I lost a lot of weight).
- Sleep issues.
- Obvious signs of anxiety .e.g. the person is snappy and clearly on edge.
- Hearing and seeing things that others cannot.
So you’ve spotted someone and you know that they have a mental illness, so what do you do next…
- Talk to them. It seems obvious and kind of scary at the same time but it really is the first thing that you need to do because reaching out to someone can single-handily help. Be gentle with it though and be sure to plan what you are going to say to ensure that you don’t approach the subject in a way that will upset the person involved. Perhaps start with the phrase “I understand that…”, and be sure to explain why you think what you think.
- The next thing would be to offer to help in some way, perhaps go along to the doctors with them or take some work off them. Ask them what would help.
- Seek help. If you can’t seem to get through to them then seek help off someone else, perhaps even someone professional! Especially do this if you are really worried about the person, or believe that they might be a danger to themselves or anyone else