When a friend or loved one is dealing with mental health issues, you may be at a loss of actions. While you would want to help them to your full capacity, you might be confused about the right kind of mental health resources to share. Instead of second-guessing their conditions, it is always a good idea to share resources that would direct them to the professional help they need. This guide looks at a few kinds of support mechanisms that you could deploy in such a situation.
Connect them with mental health organizations
There are a number of social organizations working to destigmatize mental health issues. Their services are not only limited to free help as they categorize counseling sessions catering to the specific requirements of the patient. By connecting your friend to a mental health organization, you are showing the first step towards acceptance while extending your support. As a responsible friend, it is your duty to associate them with people who can share the best possible help. While searching, keep your friend’s conditions in mind and shortlist options that fit into their criteria.
Provide links to online support networks
Many organizations provide online services, which could be a savior during the pandemic. If your friend is not comfortable visiting a counselor in real life, redirect sources that provide help virtually while maintaining anonymity. Sometimes, they just need someone to talk to and a good listener can be easily found in these support networks. Right from tele-counseling to confidential texting, there are numerous services that allow patients to seek help. Your role as a friend does not end with establishing a connection; you should also try to maintain regularity in terms of these necessary updates.
Invite them to various groups
Groups of people struggling with similar issues can act as a great source of solidarity. When your friend joins a group, they know that they are not alone in this battle and there are many other people feeling what they feel. This validates their problems and helps them in accepting their condition. The support groups often contain many helpful resources and networks where they can seek help themselves. Moreover, being a part of a community in itself is an overwhelming activity and would bring them together with a company they need on their journey towards healing.
Share important findings
If you come across an article that might be helpful for your friend, make sure you forward them the link. This might seem like a small act but could mean a lot to someone who feels isolated in their struggles against mental health issues. The fact that you are sharing your findings emphasizes how you constantly think of them and are willing to help them in this battle. For people who are not yet comfortable talking about their problems, these articles could pose as educational materials that would help them in self-therapy or reach out for professional support.
Create a safety list of contact numbers
You cannot fully comprehend the mental state of someone struggling with mental health issues. If you are one of their confidantes, try to create a safety list of contact numbers that they could use during an emergency. This list should ideally contain the contact number of a medical center or a suicide helpline. Other numbers could be of people close to them who can counsel them at a time of crisis. Even if you are available under certain circumstances, make sure there is someone alternative your friend can reach out to. Problems do not come knocking on the door and it is never a bad idea to stay prepared.
Written by: Maisha Islam
Maisha Islam Monamee is a medical student and freelance journalist. Apart from writing for The Daily Star, Monamee likes to read her way through life’s little problems. Follow her, @monameereads on Instagram.