It's easy to feel alone and isolated when experiencing Mental Health Issues. Sometimes we don't want to burden anyone else with our struggles or think that no-one will understand (so what's the point?). However, more often than not, people near to you will want you to speak to them, will want to listen and will help you to get the help you need. The Bible calls us to speak about our burdens and allow others to help us carry them (Galatians 6:2).
If you don't feel able to talk to people you know, there are a number of free services where you can call and chat to someone if you’re struggling.
This might feel scary, but it is an important step to take when suffering with ill mental health. What a gift God has given us with Healthcare professionals and medicine to help deal with mental health struggles! Your first port of call should be to speak to your GP about your particular difficulties, and they will then signpost you to various services which can help and support you (such as a Primary Care Team or a Community Mental Health Team).
When struggling with our mental health, lack of motivation can often make it hard to feel like getting up out bed or getting out of the house. In order to improve our motivation, it’s helpful to set small and achievable goals. (If you find it difficult in the morning, for example, setting an alarm for 9am and getting out of bed might be a good goal to set). This may be the only thing that you do that day, but when we begin to set tasks and achieve them it can improve our mood and help us want to set bigger goals. If thinking about a whole day overwhelms you, maybe start by breaking up your day. One way to do this is to use an activity planner (like this one here).
When someone we love tells us their mental health struggles, often we may want to jump in, solve all their problems and make them feel better. However, it is important to remember that mental health issues cannot be fixed overnight. Just listening to someone can be hugely beneficial for them, especially if they have never told anyone else. They don't need you to know all the answers, they just need you to care enough to listen to them and their struggles.
Sometimes, we take on the burden alone of trying to make our loved one feel better and save them from the mental health issues they are experiencing. But we are not their saviour. We cannot be their saviour because we, too, are broken and in need of saving. Whether your friend is a Christian or not, there is a much better Saviour for them – Jesus is the one we all need for our greatest issue, sin, and He is also the source of truth, life, peace and comfort.
Also, we are not usually equipped or do not have the right skills to help someone with their mental health issues. They have come to us as a friend to listen and when we try to fix them ourselves rather than encouraging them to seek out help from professionals, we aren’t giving them the best help they can get to start their recovery.
God has been so gracious to provide us with Mental Health Healthcare professionals who are very capable at providing the right level of support that your loved one needs to take steps towards recovery. It may be that they need encouragement to seek out the professional help they need, such as: accompanying them to the GP surgery to attend their appointment, bringing them to support groups and further appointments, providing information for charities which can help and support them.
When people are suffering with ill Mental Health they can struggle to occupy their time, lacking motivation and energy to do anything. It can be helpful to suggest doing something they enjoy together, whether that’s playing board games, baking watching a film, going to the cinema, playing sports, or even just going for a walk.
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