A person to turn to, helping hand + shoulder to cry on.

Written by our Leila Care.

As the digital world + beyond takes a moment this week to solely focus on mental health as part of the National Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to talk to you + give our best advice surrounding an issue so close to our hearts. How you could perhaps help a loved one who is struggling with their mental health.

With life returning to normal, you may find that the people closest to you are struggling a little or are unsure how to cope with the change. Now, of course, there is no quick fix, short answer, or magic cure, but if our Journal and moment of thoughts can help even one person, well that’s a success in our eyes!

Do you know the signs?

  •  Have they had a sudden change in their behaviour? Becoming erratic, aggressive, quiet, or anxious? Changes in appearance – a sudden change of style or identity? Or noticeable changes in their health – for example, changes in eating habits, sleep patterns, or showing signs of fatigue?
  • Often you may find loved ones avoiding social situations or withdrawing completely from their social circle at times of struggle.
  • It can be known by having more extreme ideas, behaviours, or plans than usually expected from this person.

How can I help friends return back to their day-to-day life post-covid?

  • Allow time for your loved ones to adapt back to normal life, this is a big change and will take time.
  • Encourage them to undertake acts of self-love + self-care, this will reassure them that they are looked after and allow them to focus on the most important things in life. Often if these are neglected, mental health issues can feel heavier.
  • Ensure that you validate their feelings and emotions – please, avoid using belittling language as this can invalidate their emotions + make them feel as though their problems are not being taken seriously.
  • If your loved one is turned away or shunted just once regarding their mental health, they may never reach out again!

How can you help?

  • Voice your concerns in a caring + compassionate way, getting pushy or aggressive will only escalate the problem.
  • Show them that you are available to talk if and when they need support – at any time! Allowing people to approach you as + when they need it will give them the confidence to speak out.
  • When listening to them, relay important information back to them to ensure that they feel heard and understood. This will also ensure that you do not misunderstand the situation. Ask questions like, ‘how does that make you feel?’, ‘How can I help?’. Don’t make the situation about yourself, listen.. take the time for them to speak.
  • Avoid challenging them and instead show yourself a safe space, someone they can turn to without judgment or questioning.
  • If you are exceptionally concerned for their wellbeing/safety, call 999.

What should I do if they decline my help?

  • Try to understand what is worrying them about seeking help, this may be something that can be resolved.
  • Explain your concern for them, let them know that you respect their decision but ensure that you are there to support them however they need.
  • Your friend may not realise the extent of the problem until you explain it from an alternate perspective, make sure to be delicate handling this conversation as it could potentially come as a shock to them – but having the conversation is important nonetheless.

We would love to hear from you + hope that these pointers help you to approach your nearest and dearest should they require your support. For those reading that may need support, remember, you are never alone and our inboxes are always open for a chat.

Direct line – hello@youandmecollective.co.uk

Key UK Helplines – Samaritans 116 123 | The Mix Under 25 0808 808 4994  | CALM (for our boys!) 0800 58 58 58 

Lots of love, Y&M x

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