Being mentally fit is just as (if not more) important than being physically fit. To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we'll be highlighting some common mental health illnesses and tips to help and handle those who may be afflicted.
Those with mental illnesses aren't just "crazy" people. That's the stigma we should all strive to break. Everybody has their issues. It's OK to not be OK.
TEN Ways to Help Someone With BIPOLAR DISORDER
1. Listen without judging or trying to fix the problem. It can be hard to listen without offering advice, but sometimes being heard is more important than fixing the problem. If this concept is difficult to understand, read this article which explains it in more detail.
2. Let them know you are available to talk when they need to. It's comforting to know that you are there, even if the person doesn't feel like talking at the moment.
3. Ask what they need help with. Sometimes what seems like a simple task can be daunting and overwhelming. Offer to help with dishes or dinner to lighten their workload. Or maybe they need helping picking their kids up from school, ask to see what you can help with.
4. Take them out for coffee, encourage them to do things together out of the house. Sometimes people with bipolar disorder, depression in particular, can isolate themselves. Try to find something they enjoy that you can do together, like getting a bite to eat, going to the movies, or going for a walk outside.
5. Continue inviting them to do things together. Keep inviting them even if they decline your invitation. Social anxiety or other reasons might keep them from showing up, but they will appreciate being included.
6. Understand when they need some space or alone time. Sometimes people need some time by themselves, and it doesn't mean they are mad at you. Try not to take it personally and respect their space.
7. Offer to go to a support group with them. Especially if they have never been to a support group before, they might be nervous about going by themselves. It might be easier to go if they have a trusted friend with them. And even if they don't want you to go with them, they will likely appreciate that you offered.
8. Reassure them that they are still fully valid participants of society. Let them know that their lives have meaning. The illness does not define them and should not limit them.
9. Be supportive of their treatment plan. Even if it’s not the same treatment plan you would choose for yourself.
10. Educate yourself about bipolar disorder. The more you learn, the better you will be able to understand and communicate about it. You are off to a good start by reading this article! Learn more on our website by reading our articles and blogs, or watching our webinar series. We also have a free book called Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder available here.
Nine Ways to Help Someone With Depression
- Be there - simply being present around someone can be very helpful
- Small gestures - send a funny meme, offer casual outings, or anything to give them an easy way to hangout...just don't press too hard.
- Don't be judgey - until you've walked in their shoes, it's not your place to tell them how they should feel.
- Tough love won't work - they won't just snap out of it.
- Don't downplay their pain.
- Avoid trying to fix them - we know you want to help but offer "what can I do?" rather than "you should do this."
- Don't compare them to someone else
- Learn about depression so you can empathize