No matter where you personally fall on the line of Mental Health, it is the responsibility of all to demystify the myths and stigmas that can be associated with mental health issues.
Just because you're not experiencing any mental health issues of your own, doesn't mean there isn't a friend or loved one in your world that's experiencing a personal battle for their well-being.
After all, it's estimated that up 1 in 5 teens in the country is experiencing a serious mental health challenge. Mental health problems can span a broad range, and sometimes the symptoms are more obvious than others. However, by checking in on friends and knowing what to look for, you could help someone.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so keep these tips in mind to help support the cause...
Make Time For Face-To-Face
Teens spend a lot of time on social media chatting. As a whole, they spend more than 7 hours a day looking at screens for enjoyment. But sometimes, a real problem being faced by someone won't come out until you're face-to-face.
It's been shown that socialising in person is good for health in seniors, but the same can be said for younger generations. Also, when chatting in person you can recognise some of the physical symptoms of mental health issues. These can include sudden changes in weight, unusual fatigue, or even signs of self-harm.
Don't Be Judgemental
Mental health issues can impact any person at any time. So if a friend opens up to you about their struggles, it's important not to judge them or question them. The last thing they want is a friend trying to diagnose them.
Instead of challenging, ask open-ended questions such as "when did you start feeling like this?" or how are you feeling now?" Let them tell you as much or little as they're comfortable with. Don't push them for more.
Connect With Resources
If the person has indicated they need help, then you can help their family by learning as much as you can about local services and resources (such as support groups) available. Go with them to the appointment if they ask.
Do not try to push them towards getting treatment, but assess whether you think they're a danger to themselves or somebody else. If you think they are, or if they have previous injuries, then reach out for additional help.
At the same time, you can read as much as possible about mental health issues, so you can be more knowledgable when discussing and understanding it.
Share Your Story
If you're experiencing a mental health issue yourself, then don't be afraid to open up about it. This may help break the stigma, as about half of teens needing professional help will not seek it because of fear of being judged.
By sharing your story and how you got help, you may inspire someone else you know to do the same.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
You can support mental health all year long, but as May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it puts a particular focus on it. By practicing some of these tips, you could help connect someone with the help they need or just to lend a shoulder.
These are just a handful of practical tips that you can perform to ensure your loved ones are avoiding falling victim to experiencing mental health issues alone. If you're looking for some qualified help in this area or if you know of someone else who is, here are some contacts below that can be of service to you:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
- ReachOut at au.reachout.com
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