A Physical Presence In Mental Health In a World Of Technology
Mental health can be hard to talk about, it can be just as hard for people on the other side of the fence to know how to talk about it too. People are often left wondering "how can I help someone with a mental illness?"
People can feel like they don't know what to say, how to react, what will offend and what wont and so too often we are left in the cycle of silence. The person suffering not knowing how to explain what is going on and the family and friends watching but not knowing what to do apart from offer the "It will get better" line which to someone struggling can be extremely frustrating and can leave them feeling like no one understands.
In my experience sometimes it is simply the little things. Just having someone walk up to you without words and pulling you in for a hug, a friend asking if you want to meet up for a cup of tea, a simple "How are you feeling today?" opens up dialogue and shows that you are thinking about them and want to know how they are doing without passing judgement.
One problem I think these days is that we live in a world of mobile phones, text messages, whatsapp, facebook, twitter and whatever the hell else there is out there that I am too uncool to be aware of. Don't get me wrong a text is lovely, it's important to reach out by any means but sometimes the little acts of kindness outside of technology go a really long way.
Making the effort to physically check in on someone can mean the world, asking someone if they'd like to meet up, have a day out with you - It doesn't need to be anything that costs a lot of money it's just the act of physically being there, that really can mean the world to someone who is struggling, feeling extremely lonely and who is shutting themselves off from the world.
I also remember when I was ill before the huge boom of facebook and all other social media letter writing was amazing. It was such a wonderful feeling to get a letter of support physically through the post that someone had taken the time to write and post.
Letter writing unfortunately has died a death in the world of technology but there are similar things out there that could mean just as much to someone if you're not one for writing letters. Nicole of "Nicoles Journey" has listed a few brilliant sources that you may find useful to send to someone who is struggling, these sorts of things, from personal experience really mean the world to know that someone has thought about you enough to make such a kind gesture of support. You can see them HERE.
This isn't to say a text message or an email is wrong, but sometimes having a physical presence rather just words on a screen from a friend or family member can mean so much more. Even if it's just a card, a note, five minutes after work when you're on your way home if they don't live too far away. I know these things have really meant the world to me to know that someone thinks I'm worth enough to take that time.
Talking can be hard, but the more we talk about mental health the easier it gets so reach out in whichever way feels best for you but offer a hug - you have no idea how much that means!
"How can I help someone with mental illness?" is a common question.
Sometimes it's simply the small things that can help - simply being there for someone with mental health issues can mean the world.
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