How To Help Someone Struggling With Mental Health

How To Help Someone Struggling With Mental Health

Megan Ryal

With the start of a new school year, transitioning can be difficult for a majority of students. Whether it is managing a hefty work-load or balancing athletics, it can be hard to find the time to take care of your mental health and needs.  In order to remove the stigma surrounding anxiety and depression, we have to be able to talk about it.  Here are some tips & advice on how to help a peer who is struggling:

1. If you’re available, let them know you are always there to talk.                                                                           

Often times, people will unload their problems on you unexpectedly. Sometimes, you may not be emotionally available to respond in the way they hope you would. To help your friend, let them know that you can always be a person for them to rant to. Providing that safe space for them reassures them that they do have someone to confide in.

2. Encourage them to talk to a counselor or therapist.                                                                                         

Talking to someone who specializes in treating mental health struggles such as anxiety, ADHD and depression can help you find the strategies to cope with the side effects of these mental battles. You do not have to live with this, especially if you have grown up in an environment that has conditioned you to not bring your struggles to the surface.

3. Don’t minimize their feelings.                                                                                                                                      

When someone opens up to you about how they’ve been feeling, one of the main things to do is listen. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know that what they are feeling is valid. Try and stay away from relating to them with situations that have happened to you, especially if they don’t pertain to the conversation you’re having. If a friend is struggling with the death of a loved one, avoid mentioning how you felt when your fish died in the fifth grade.

4.  Offer to practice self-care with them.                                                                                                                        

Whether it’s taking a walk, going to a coffee shop to study or watching a movie, activities like these help to keep people who struggle to find motivation active. Getting your friend out of their funk can be difficult, but encouraging them to join you to do simple things can really help them cope. Providing that outlet for them can build your relationship or friendship and can overall give them the encouragement they might need.

As a school community, we can work together to end the stigma surrounding those who struggle with mental health. If you or anyone you know is having a hard time, please encourage and support them in seeking the help they may need. Showing that you support and care can go such a long way.