Anyone can experience a mental health problem. Unfamiliar of what mental health means? “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices (http://www.mentalhealth.gov).”
Are you aware if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health problem? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have put together a list of early warning signs. Experiencing one or more of the listed behaviors can be an early sign that there could be a problem.
You can help a friend or family member recognize the signs and connect them to professional help. Talking about the problem gives you the opportunity to give information, support, and guidance. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains that you can show support by:
- Finding out if the person is getting the care that he or she needs and wants—if not, connect him or her to help
- Expressing your concern and support
- Reminding your friend or family member that help is available and that mental health problems can be treated
- Asking questions, listening to ideas, and being responsive when the topic of mental health problems come up
- Reassuring your friend or family member that you care about him or her
- Offering to help your friend or family member with everyday tasks
- Including your friend or family member in your plans—continue to invite him or her without being overbearing, even if your friend or family member resists your invitations
- Educating other people so they understand the facts about mental health problems and do not discriminate
- Treating people with mental health problems with respect, compassion, and empathy
If you need help starting the conversation about mental health with a friend or family member you can try some of these questions making sure you are actively listening for their response. If you need to connect them with help you can use these links to point them in the right direction.
As a person who has dealt with anxiety I encourage you to ask questions, seek help and to no longer whisper about mental health. Friends and family make all the difference to a person’s recovery.