“We all go through it; you’ll get through it too”
“It could get worse”
Research has it that the unhappiest people in the world are not poor or the ones battling hunger. They are the ones suffering from some sort of a mental illness. People often over-look mental illness only because they cannot see it, but also because they do not understand it. And we fear what we don’t understand.
How often have you come across someone getting injured on a play-ground, and have everyone attend them to provide aid? Also, have you noticed the ones who sit on the benchers, avoiding interaction of any sort and lost in their own thoughts? Rumour has it that this person might be depressed. This makes you uncomfortable. Being the person you are, you want to reach out to them, but you are unaware of the right approach.
Helping someone in depression comes with a certain amount of empathy, to start with. There are a few methods and of course you need patience in order to be there for this person. Here’s how.
Don’t Just Ask; Listen
All a person needs from time to time is unconditionally venting out to someone without the fear of being judged. People come from various backgrounds and carry all sorts of baggage. If you do come across someone who needs to talk it out, all you have to do is listen to their story and ask them what you can do to help them out.
Environment – An Impairment or Improvement
What makes the talking more effective is setting the right environment. When intervened, people often feel out of place. Think of it as some sort of nakedness, as if to say that they have been ripped off their clothes. This can provoke and cause further isolation. Hence, it is imperative to be careful of the vicinity of your conversation. Make sure it is a noiseless surrounding where both of you are comfortable and relaxed. Avoid talking to them if they are not ready or are upset.
Don’t Be Mr./Ms. Fix-It
You must have heard the famous saying “You can take the horse to the lake, but you cannot force the horse to drink the water”. We understand the concern one has when their loved ones are battling depression. It does no good if you want to rescue them without their own willingness to do the same. What would work is if you are around when you need them the most. That’s a start.
Encourage Professional Help
The next step after breaking the ice is to encourage the visit to a professional psychologist. This step helps them manifold and solves further intricacies which can be beyond one’s understanding. Let’s face it, we all come with our biases and baggage but seeking professional help only means you want the best for the person in need.
All in Good Time
Most importantly, you need to give the person ample time to heal. Depression is as ‘grey as it comes’ and so is the time taken to get out of it. For some it takes a couple of weeks to recover and for some even a few years are not enough. It depends on the baggage once carries, how deep the impact is and the willingness to improve. Nevertheless, being patient and understanding can be a major support.
On the severe side, mental illness can affect society to a great extent. If mentally ill people cannot receive care anywhere they tend to take drastic steps like substance and self-abuse.
More often than not, the magnitude of mental illness overpowers physical illness. It is high time we take thoughtful steps towards the former and shed off myths that are attached to it.
Not everything you perceive is the truth. And what you can’t see exists too.
Get Over it. It’s In Your Head
To know more about Mental Health at work, click here.