How to Talk to Your Friend About Their Mental Health
Everyone needs a friend to talk to sometimes. A good friend can make a huge difference when it comes to the maintenance, preservation, and restoration of your mental health. Having mental health conversations with parents or teachers can be uncomfortable and awkward. Close friends can more easily facilitate mental health conversations. Still, even with your best friend, the idea of raising these tough topics can be intimidating. Here are some ways to make that conversation a little bit easier.
Talk About Mental Health, not Mental Illness
Don't wait until you're on the brink of a nervous breakdown before seeking help. Your mind is just like your body and requires constant maintenance to ensure that it stays in top shape. Analyze the state of your mental health and think about it now, when your concerns can be listened to and addressed before they spiral out of control and become unmanageable. If you constantly feel anxious or depressed, then your entire life could be affected.
Embrace the Awkward
You may not be able to make this conversation natural and comfortable, but you can address the fact that this is awkward and disarm the conversation on the outset. Try starting the conversation with an ice-breaker. It's good to help your friend relax before you bring up your problems, so you can ease into the difficult topics. Be open, but let the conversation progress at a gentle pace. Meet at a time and place that's familiar for you and your friend. Habitual behavior brings comfort.
Get Help If You Need It
If you feel overwhelmed, then it may be time to seek professional help and advice. Mental health professionals have plenty of experience handling difficult situations and complex issues. They can let you know whether you should be concerned about a friend's behavior. Some people feel ashamed to get professional help for mental health issues. In reality, a mental health professional is just as necessary as a general health practitioner. There should be no stigma or stress about stopping problematic behaviors before they become more serious.
Be a good friend to yourself and to others. If you feel stressed, then take the initiative and talk to a close friend. Don't ignore a friend who's suffering. Gently have a conversation with your friend about his or her problem. If the results of your conversation indicate there are issues too big for you to handle on your own, then seek professional help.