Mental health is something that is connected to everyone, whether it be through yourself, family, friends or colleagues. With 1 in every 5 Australians either suffering or having previously suffered, from a mental health illness, we must learn the basic, everyday strategies that can help the ones we love. Following this, with the current coronavirus climate, there has been a tremendous spike in mental health illnesses as we have been placed in lockdown, restrictions or stuck on the other side of the world. It is now more important than ever to help those around us.
To celebrate R U Ok Day, we have compiled a list of strategies that you can implement into your everyday lives to support the ones you love. Sometimes all someone needs to hear is ‘are you ok?’, so never doubt the power of a conversation or your actions.
- Read R U Ok’s 4-step guide on learning how to ask: ask, listen with an open mind, encourage action, check-in.
- Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of mental health. Some of these can be found here.
- Provide emotional support and let them know that you are there for them.
- Recommend external resources for you both to use/for them to use individually, such as support groups, podcasts, organisations or books.
- Advocating for a healthy, balanced diet by inviting them to go on walks or eat healthy meals together.
- Offer to help them make an appointment with a mental health professional, and even offer to go with them.
There are many great, supportive organisations that give you free mental health advice on how to help others, whether it be how to approach a tough conversation or what to do if you’re really worried about your friend. These include:
- R U Ok
- Beyond Blue
- Black Dog Institute
- Australian Indigenous Health InfoNet
- Conversations Matter
No worry is too small and remember that a conversation could change a life. It is also important for you to remember to look after yourself. If you’re not in the right headspace, you’ll be limited in your ability to help others.
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