Connections and relationships are a crucial part of wellness and living a good life.
We all need a support network to learn from and lean on in times of hardship, and for those living with mental ill health our family and friends can make a big difference.
How can I tell if a family member or friend needs my support?
Every individuals experience with mental health is unique. It can be hard to know when someone close to you may be dealing with mental health stresses. So how can you help?
- Look out for signs they are not feeling themselves. You might notice your friend or family member becoming more anti-social or are expressing feelings of tiredness and feeling down. If you see these changes, check in with them and ask: ‘’Are you ok?’’
- Listen to what they want to say. If they don’t want to talk, respect that. Allow them to talk through how they are feeling. Then, let them know that what they are experiencing is OK and that they are not alone. Express your concern and remind your friend or family member that your support is there for them.
- Find help together. Find out if they are getting the support they need. If not, encourage and help them to find a support service they may be comfortable with. Book an appointment to visit a GP together, research what support services might be available to them and assist them in completing the steps to find the right support.List Item
What can I do to provide the best support to my family and friends?
We understand its not always easy seeing someone you care about in distress, and even harder if you are not sure how you can help. To provide your family and friends the best support its important to:
Educate yourself about mental health and wellbeing. Find out what can contribute to changes in mental health, how people can be supported, and know that people can and do recover. Learn about the different support services available, and consider what might be best suitable for your family member or friend.
- Are they eligible for the government Mental Health Care Plan?
- Do they also have a physical disability? Learn how an NDIS (The National Disability Insurance Scheme) plan may be more suitable for their needs.
- Are they experiencing voices or other sensory perceptions? Hearing voices can provide them with community-based support.
- Require assistance on hand, and a support program in a safe environment? Then perhaps supported accommodation is best for you.
Look after yourself. It’s important to take care of yourself, especially when you are supporting someone else. Nobody expects you to be a super-human and your state of mind is just as important in these situations. Carer support and respite services can give you some time out to relax, look after yourself and live your own life.
Share your knowledge with others in your social circle and community to help people in similar situations and stop stigma and discrimination around mental ill health. Consider a training course to learn from industry experts about creating environments for positive wellbeing and supporting someone with mental health challenges.