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Its Mental Health Awareness week!

Email sent: May 9, 2021 3:02am
5 ways to be a supportive friend
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Vivo Life

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Giving mental health tips can be a bit of a minefield. What works for you, might not work for the next person. You might find a bath helps with your anxiety, but your mate might find it makes them irritable. You might need to be alone when you’re feeling down, but your sibling needs to be around people.

Ultimately, finding out what works for you is probably always going to be a work-in-progress. Everyone's personality, brain chemistry, and life experiences are incredibly different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all tips.

But no matter what someone is or isn’t going through, the people that we surround ourselves with and how we support one another is crucial to a healthy mind.

No matter how introverted someone might be, everyone can use a supportive friend: especially when they’re struggling with mental health problems. So, in the spirit of Mental Health Awareness week, try and be that supportive friend to someone in need.

Here’s 5 simple ways to do so:

  1. Just be there:  This doesn’t necessarily mean being physically present. I know when my mental health isn’t so good, the last thing I want is a mate unexpectedly dropping by - it’s just not how I work. However, that little WhatsApp voice note, or quick message to say ‘Hey, I’m here for you’ can mean the world to someone. 
     
  2. Act normally: If you decide to drop by, just be your normal self. Don’t walk on (vegan) eggshells: your friend probably wants some normality. If you usually crack jokes, keep doing it. Your friend is your friend because of who you are - so be that person! 
     
  3. Don’t be a rescuer: It’s important to remember that you’re not a problem-solver - unfortunately, the person likely has a problem that you probably can’t solve. Likewise, you’re (probably) not a professional, and it’s important to avoid becoming Dr. Google and making a half-baked diagnosis. Always signpost to a professional if you think this person needs it. Mind is a great source of information.  
     
  4. Be patient: One day someone might feel amazing, and the next they can’t get out of bed. As a bystander, this can be really frustrating. It’s ok to feel this frustration: all you can do is try and be patient with the person, and don’t get stressed trying to understand what's going on: just accept it.
     
  5. Keep yourself safe: Remember you’re not a punching bag, and it’s crucial that you set boundaries. If this person's mental health is heavily affecting your own, and your life in general, you might need to take a step back. There’s a reason why flight attendants tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before helping someone else. 

These are just five general tips: please remember that if you or someone close to you is experiencing mental health difficulties, you should seek the help of a professional. Every situation is different!

Take care,

Elliot

If you think you or someone else are at risk of harming themselves, contact Samaritans on 116 123 for confidential and professional support.
This line is open 24/7. 

Explore more articles in our Blog.

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