I actually had another blog post ready for today but felt like I wanted to talk about Mental Health. I guess who isn’t talking about Mental Health today?
After all it’s R U OK Day today, 14 September…
RU OK Day is certainly a great way to bring to the forefront this Mental Health Stuff and Suicide Prevention exploring the importance of starting the conversation.
Having dealt with Mental Health issues myself, worked with people and supported friends and family I have a little experience about checking in with others. No way am i saying i am any kind of expert but I picked up a tiny bit of info over the years.
- If you do ask, be ready to listen to understand, not to reply (great Bestie#2 Tip).
- If you haven’t asked and someone shares with you, you may well be the only one, OR they may have shared with a few. Either way acknowledging what they say doesn’t have to mean you will be sucked into an abyss of support. Hopefully for that person you are NOT the only person in their lives that can support and not reacting can add to the disconnection for that person.
- Believe the person. Yes you might have to do something with the information and that can be a bit worrying or even annoying. Remember you can contact Lifeline if you don’t know what to do, they provide support to the person that is supporting the person.
- Encourage the person to get help or take them.
- Support the person to be truthful to their Doctor, Admin/Reception staff. In my experience if you give all the info, even if it feels embarrassing or uncomfortable, to the receptionist they have more knowledge for accessing appointment availability or Doctor/Psychologist choice.
- If the first Nurse, Doctor, Psychologist isn’t helpful find another one.
- Check in with the person. Just think how weird it would be if you shared something with someone and you never heard from them or not for a long time. I’m thinking it would be a bit awkward the next time you meet?
- Be patient and kind with you and the person. If this is close friend or family member this issue may take some time to work through.
- Encourage them to believe in you, whilst they are not believing in themselves.
- Look after yourself, supporting a person with a Mental Health issue can be hard. Be truthful with the person, you may not always be available to them so let them know. You might just need to help them to find another support person at that time.
- Think of it as a privilege. Supporting someone can be the best way for own self growth plus to save and support someone is a great feeling.
Some great tips about having the conversation is on the RU OK Website. An awesome conversation convoy of Ask, Listen, Encourage action, Check in.
As the RU OK day comes to an end. I hope you took the opportunity to check in today with yourself (firstly) and with others.