I’m sure we all have a friend going through mental health and this isn’t easy to watch someone you care about going through such hard times.

As I have been to hospital for my mental health I have made some amazing friends who are suffering with all types of mental health. This is something which can be helpful for you, as you have someone who totally understands you. But it can also be such a hard thing to see as well as you care for that person so much you don’t want to see them going through the pain you know all too well about.

Sometimes it can be unbearable to sit back and watch as you are unable to help with the pain and suffering. However, there are times when you can be a listening ear and maybe advise things that have helped you through the illness. If you are someone who doesn’t suffer with mental health and you have a friend going through this horrendous illness there are somethings I would recommend.

Listen 

This has got to be the most important one! Listen to us rant, don’t interrupt as sometimes we just want to get things off our chest and not have to keep them held back from the world. You will tend to find if you just sit back and listen we will start to open up a little bit more than usual as it allows us to just process the information/thoughts and say things we didn’t even know we was feeling/thinking. Trust me, this can be something which happens, I have done this a lot with friends and family when they just listen to me go on and on about all my worries and stresses.

Don’t judge

Even if you don’t understand why we are wanting to hurt ourselves or crying for no reason (to you anyways) don’t judge us for it, we are struggling and the more you judge the more we will push you away and you will make us feel worse than they already feel.

Never say you understand if you don’t 

Well this is very self-explanatory if you don’t know how we are feeling or you have never been through an experience which helps you understand don’t make us feel as though you do. We will not thank you for this later on, the more honest you are the better.

Don’t feel sorry for them 

NEVER say you feel sorry for us, we don’t want sympathy we just want someone to listen. We know that mental health is associated as an illness but we don’t want you to feel sorry for us as this is part of us and we are still the same person as we was before, we are just a little bit more fragile than before sometimes.

Don’t shy away 

As soon as some people know we suffer with mental health they want to just step back and leave us to it. Well we don’t want this, we want to still have our friends around us. Would you run away from someone if they broke their arm? I don’t think so, so why should this be any different? We are still human, we can still have a laugh, we can still go do fun things. It might just take us a little longer to pluck up the courage or we might just be out of action for a little bit, while we find our feet.

Don’t stop moaning

This is something I tell all of my friends. I like to hear if they have had a bad day, I will not judge them if they have had a stressful day and are a little bit upset. If anything it makes us feel as though we are ‘normal’ for having good and bad days. We like to hear other people’s problems, it stops us from thinking about ours for a little bit.

These are just a few things you can do to help a friend suffering with mental health. If you have a friend who has been sectioned for their mental health don’t stop speaking to them, do not avoid them. The units are not as bad as you might think they are not full of ‘crazy’ people. We are all the same, some people are just experiencing hard times and need a bit of a rest. So make sure you go and see your friends and make them see they have so many people around them that care. I went to go see a friend recently and we was able to go into town and have a coffee it was so nice to get them away and have a good catch up. It made all the difference to them and I honestly have to say it is one of the most rewarding things I have done for a long time. All I want when I am with friends is for someone to sit with me while I rant, moan or cry with a coffee.

I would advise that if you have a friend who you think is suffering with their mental health, ensure that they seek the help which they need. This can be going to the doctors, seeing a therapist etc. This is the most important thing when it comes to mental health as if we seek the help me need we are able to deal with this on a day-to-day basis and not let this define who we really are.

Do you have a friend suffering with mental health? Are you struggling?

If anyone would like to advice on helping a friend with mental health please feel free to us the support contacts and feel free to send me a message.