Asking for help is hard. Many of us avoid it because it makes us feel vulnerable. The fear of seeming weak or incompetent often prompts us to go it alone, which, unfortunately, just makes everything even more difficult. This is especially true for people suffering from mental illness. While the topic is becoming more prevalent in our society, stigma still surrounds issues like addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. This stigma prevents people from openly discussing their condition and getting the help they need. Keeping this in mind, you might be in a position to relieve someone you know of this burden and help them onto the path of recovery.
Before you assume someone you care about has a mental illness, do as much research as you can. Look up any uncharacteristic changes in behavior or mood you’ve noticed and the potential causes. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs to watch out for include extreme mood swings, appetite changes, and fatigue. Mental illness is very complex and symptoms vary based on any number of variables, though, so it’s wise to supplement the information you find by speaking to a trained professional.
As previously mentioned, mental health is a very delicate topic. Here are a few things you can do to ensure the conversation goes smoothly.
This isn’t a one-time conversation. You’ll have to stand by your loved one every step of the way to improve their chances of getting better. But you don’t have to do it alone. There are numerous resources that you can refer them to, both on- and offline. We encourage our users to share their LifeSpeak access with friends and family so everyone can benefit from our extensive content on mental health. If you don’t have a LifeSpeak account, find out more about us here.
Also published on Medium.
Originally published at lifespeak.com