Supporting a Friend or Family Member Struggling With Mental Illness



Happy New Year, everyone! Is it okay to say that now? I mean, we’re 17 days into the new year and I keep asking myself just how far along the month is it too far to wish someone a happy new year?! I know I’ve been off-ish (I'm aware that that’s an understatement). I have been off for quite a long time here. I wasn't hit by a writer's block or anything, I just took some time off. I talk a lot about taking a break and practice it myself.

I took some time off for me, practicing more self-care, awareness, taking it a little slow and I also had to focus on my new career in radio hosting. I spent time prepping, researching my topics and making the most of my journey as a radio personality and I'm loving the journey. I am, however, excited to be back to this chapter of my life once again and I'll be picking up where I've left off. Is everyone well? Please let me know in the comments how the new year is going so far.

Today is International We Are Not Broken Day! Thanks to The Wellbeing Blogger's social media event calendar for Bloggers that I've come to know about this important day! The calendar has over one hundred and eighty (180) special dates to help creatives come up with amazing content and spread awareness. Don't forget to subscribe to her newsletter, you will not regret it!

The International We Are Not Broken Day is one of my new favourite days and I'll be sure to keep celebrating it going forward. Society can be a little unfair and/or unkind to people living with mental health illness or trauma. The world has took it so far that we had to have dates like these and campaigns in order to teach and create awareness around these topics. The International We Are Not Broken Day was made to bring awareness the fact that despite living or struggling with mental illness or trauma, you're still human and

It is no secret that those who struggle with things like depression, anxiety and/or more are often labelled as unstable or 'not so normal'. The stigma created around mental illness has got to change. Is someone you know, a friend or family member struggling with mental illness? These are a few ways or things you may use to support and be there for them:

Understanding
First of all, every person struggling or living with mental illness or trauma is different. They are different people with different experiences, triggers and pasts. When talking to a person living with one of these, do not generalise or assume you know them, get to know them personally so you may find a way to live with them as individuals and not add to their pain or struggle. The illness may have the same name but what each person carries is known to them and just because one carries it well, doesn't mean the other person will too.

Learn
Never stop learning. Admit first that you need an education on this and keep an open mind. Compassion may help you learn better, too. You may learn about mental illness or trauma through experts who teach and share information about mental illness. You can find them online and maybe go to their seminar. You can also learn by choosing to be actively involved in campaigns that shed light on mental illness and trauma and open your eyes and ears through the course of the campaigns. You may even learn something from tracking your own mental health journey.

Offer Emotional Support
It can be a bit upsetting or triggering for a person living with mental illness to be reminded that they are living or struggling with one. A few of the things that push or trigger them may include but not limited to passive aggressive comments and being labelled - it depends on the person. A few other ways you may offer emotional support is by listening actively, showing up for your loved ones and being clear about the things you can or cannot do. Try to give clear answers and do not make promises you can't keep. You may also offer to hangout with them at one of their favourite spots and ask questions only when you deem necessary regarding their health. Reassure them when they need it, but do not lie to them.




Do Not Take It Personally
Having had my fair share of trauma in the past, I know just how much one can go off on you even when you've not done or said anything wrong. It's a complicated journey that takes patience. It's important to remember that just because you give to a person who lives with mental illness or trauma doesn't mean you'll get back what you give. The best thing you may get is their sincere appreciation for your effort. Don't forget to take good care of yourself too because you can't pour from an empty cup.

Make Sure They Get Help
Last but not least, it's hard seeing a loved one struggle. The situation may be a lot better when the person recognises that they are struggling and ask for help, while others may not admit it to themselves or do but ask for any help. It helps to have an honest conversation with them and express how much you care about their wellbeing. Do your own research and suggest the nearest place they can get help from. 

Always remember to take care of your own mental health so you can a loved one better. Here are a few mental health institutions you may call for help:

1. South Africa SADAG (depression and anxiety) - 0800 456 789 a 24-hour mental health helpline
2. UK giveusashout org - 85258 (first free, confidential, 24/7 text support service)

For those whose country's contact number I didn't share here, please search online for the nearest free or paid mental health services near you.

People living with mental illness or trauma may be a little wounded or shaken but they are not broken.

14 comments

  1. This post is so beautiful πŸ₯Ή❤️ You gave us such a relatable explanation of the meaning of this date! And you touched in aspects that mean so much. I felt deeply nudged when you mentioned how we shouldn't take it personally and how trauma can represent different experiences for each one of us. Thank you for this brilliant and inspiring post. I'm honored you picked it from our calendar, it gives me a warm feeling to know it is being of use πŸ™ˆπŸ₯° Oh, and Happy New Year again! I think it's great we keep saying it 😁

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    1. Thanks so much for dropping by, V! I feel like we would be making a mistake we treated people with mental illness the same. We're different people in this world. In that case, happy new year!πŸ’›πŸΉ

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  2. It can be so hard to watch loved ones who maybe are going through a difficult time. This was a really lovely post. These are some really great suggestions to help. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren - bournemouthgirl

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    1. I'm happy you've found this post helpful! Thanks so much for dropping by.πŸ’›

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  3. Some great tips. When I started suffering with mental illness 10 years ago, I didn't have much of the support you've mentioned here and it was really difficult and made things a lot worse. I hope people are much more understanding these days x

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    1. The world has come a long way. The support seem to be so much better today. I hope things are better for you now and that you have the support you need. Hugs!πŸ’›

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  4. I agree with you we never stop learning. This is something I'm working on for the past few months.

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  5. This is a great exploration of how to help someone dealing with mental health issues. I like that you mention learning about different conditions or triggers, especially ones that are particular to your loved one/s. I think it's great we are (as a society) being more open about taking care of our mental health and that resources are out there to support this. Thank you so much for sharing this!

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    1. I'm so happy you've stopped by. I feel like the world has come a long way and mental health matters are paid more attention to now. Support in crucial for people living with trauma or mental illness.πŸ’›

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  6. This was such an insightful post. I think learning what that person needs, what certain terms mean and how you can best help them is the most important thing. Thank you for sharing x

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! The stigma around mental health illness is not good and I'm trying to do my part to end that through teaching things like these πŸ’›

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  7. Some incredible advice, I'm struggling with my mental health at the moment and I would love to show my friends and family this x

    Lucy Mary

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  8. I'm sorry to hear that, Lucy. Sending you hugs! πŸ’› Try to lean on your loved ones for support πŸ’–

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