Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, ADHD, Et al: How to Support a Friend with Mental Illness

By: Sarah Cohen

When helping a friend with a mental illness, the first step should be assessment of their symptoms. Sometimes they just might be going through a difficult time, but if certain common symptoms associated with mental health issues persist it is imperative to respond sensitively. Majority of the time, friends will just want to know they have your support and that you care about them. A good way to show your support is by talking to them. If you provide a non-judgmental space for them to speak about their issues it will help encourage them to be open with their problems. Let them lead the conversation and don’t pressure them to reveal information. It can be incredibly difficult and painful to speak about these issues and they might not be ready to share everything. If you aren’t their therapist do not diagnose them or make assumptions about how they are feeling, just listen and show you understand. If someone doesn’t want to speak with you, don’t take it personally, just continue to show them you care about their wellbeing and want to help as much as possible. Just knowing they have support can give them the strength they need to contact someone who can help them.

If a friend is having a crisis, such as a panic attack or suicidal thoughts, you must stay calm. Try not to overwhelm them by asking a lot of questions and confronting them in a public setting. Ask them gently what would be helpful to them right now or reassure them. If they hurt themselves, get first aid as soon as possible. If someone is suicidal, contact the suicide hotline at 800-237-8255 immediately.

The best way to help someone is by connecting them to professional help. By expressing your concern and support you can show them that they can get help and their mental health problems can be treated.

If you or someone you know needs support with their mental illness, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/supporting-someone-mental-health-problem

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/friends-family-members

Mental Health Stigma: Myths

Mental Health Stigma: Myths

By Toniann Seals

When you hear that someone has mental health issues there are a few myths that may come to mind. Below are a few common myths and why they are not true.

1. MYTH: “People with mental health problems are dangerous.”

  • Mental health problems do not imply danger. Most people are battling something internally and do not have any signs of being a danger to themselves or others.

2. MYTH: “People with mental health problems are unstable.”

  • Many people with mental health problems are high functioning and can control their emotions. They can make their own well thought out choices.

3. MYTH: “People with mental health problems are unsuccessful in their daily lives.”

  • Many people with mental health problems are able to perform daily tasks such as working and having hobbies. They can be CEOs of companies, thrive in their careers and make important decisions.

4. MYTH: “People with mental health problems are lazy.”

  • Sometimes daily tasks do get hard for some, but mental illness has nothing to do with laziness. There are many factors that go into these illnesses as well as reasons why some people cannot function as productively as usual.

5. MYTH: “There is no hope for someone with mental health problems.”

  • Many people go to therapy for treatment and work toward recovery.

Before you are quick to judge someone because of their actions or labeled illness, think more in depth about what they are doing and who they are as a person. Just because you hear something that generalizes a group of people, it does not mean it is true.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health problem speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/mental-health-myths-facts

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