What to say and what not to say
Studies have shown that mental disorders affect every one in three adults in South Africa, during some point in their lives. If you come across someone with mental health in your family or circle of friends and you are unsure of how to approach them, these tips might help.
Here are some suggestions on how to approach someone living with a mental health disorder:
- Speak to them in a neutral environment where they feel comfortable enough to have the conversation
- Ease into the mental health conversation, gradually.
- Be sure to keep your tone, relaxed and judgement-free
- Listen to them intently, be responsive and respectful of their boundaries
- Show them the respect they deserve and do so with compassion
Below are some things to avoid saying when approaching mental health:
- “Just change your attitude and lighten up.”
- “Yes, we are all a little bit off the wall every once in a while.”
- “You have the same illness as my…..”
- “Stop being negative; things will change.”
- “Everyone feels this way at some point or another”
Below are some things to avoid doing when approaching mental health:
- Never blame them for their condition
- Never raise your voice when talking about sensitive mental health subjects
- Whatever you do, never make jokes about their condition
- Avoid patronizing them or being condescending towards them
- Stop assuming things about their condition
The Potential of Teamwork
The path to wellness can be full of hurdles and setbacks, and that is why it’s important to have realistic expectations.
There may be times when you feel your support is making no difference, or even that it’s unwanted. But however complicated the journey becomes, your support willalways be invaluable.
There’s an ancient phrase – ‘strength in numbers’ – that was first used in times of war. However, heading into battle with mental illness means this phrase is just as fitting. Here it refers to the numbers involved on the road to recovery – from family and friends to mental health professionals.
That is why at ZwavelStream Clinic we provide treatment and support for patients, as well as their family and friends. The reason being, we firmly believe in the importance of this support when it comes to effective treatment and recovery. If you have any questions about helping a loved one on their way to well-being, please feel free to contact us.