Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity to address mental health and one we should continue throughout the year. We all have mental health, family, friends, employees and colleagues. Our fast-paced, high-pressured lives can be unpredictable and stressful, so naturally, our mental health can fluctuate based on what we’re faced with at any given moment.
If we don’t take care of our mental health, it can escalate into burnout, depression, chronic stress, anxiety and fatigue. Checking in with ourselves and understanding how we’re feeling to identify when we’re overwhelmed is the first step toward improving our mental health.
There are vital things to remember when you’re feeling overwhelmed;
Be kind to yourself
Take some time away from the screen
Do something you enjoy
Spend some time outdoors
Connect with others
How can we support those around us?
When supporting someone struggling with their mental health, the most important thing to do is listen. Lend an empathetic ear and genuinely hear what they have to say. You don’t need to relate to them or solve their problems but just understand how they feel and respect their feelings.
It’s courageous for somebody to open up about the way they’re feeling
Take them out of the environment, and find a calm environment without distractions to have open conversations. This could be going outdoors to connect with nature and having a walking talk, eliminating the pressure of sitting down face to face. Respect their boundaries, and let them lead the conversation. It’s courageous for somebody to open up about the way they’re feeling, so let them tell you what they are ready to talk about, but don’t put pressure on them to tell you anything they aren’t ready to.
Ask them what could help them, they may have developed coping methods when they feel like this. Talk to them about self-care, such as exercise, a healthy diet, a good night's sleep etc.
Know where to turn. Remember that there are resources and specialists out there that can provide professional help, so it may be time to support them by seeking that help.
Organisations & Resources:
Samaritans: the Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day, in full confidence. Call 116 123 or email email@example.com
Mind Infoline: Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Call 03001233393 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rethink Advice and Information Service: Rethink provide specific solution-based guidance: 030 05000 927. Email: email@example.com
Anxiety: Anxiety UK runs a helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety from 9.30-5.30 Monday to Friday. Call 08444 775 774.