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Mental Illness: How is it best to help? Watch

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    We're creating an information thread on how to help people with mental illnesses and need your help!

    - If you have a mental illness, how can people help you best?
    - Have you ever supported someone else with a mental illness?
    - Most importantly, how do you look after your own mental health while helping other people?

    If there's anything else you think would be good to include in this or would be helpful to people (either specific to this or for the mental health forum in general) then feel free to post that below too
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    One thing that was important for me was people not going on about it all the time. The illness doesn't define me. There's one thing saying "I'm here to talk if you want to". But asking me why I've got depression all the time, no, please don't. It's not helpful at all.
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    If you have a mental illness, how can people help you best? - For me personally, some ways my friends and family could help are to read up on what conditions I have as many of them don't actually know what the conditions are like to live with or what the actual symptoms are. For example, my stepdad thought everyone had 'a touch of OCD' and that it only meant I washed my hands a lot or liked things a certain way, which is not OCD at all. He thankfully read up on the illness and is now no longer ignorant on the subject and doesn't say he has OCD any more as he thought that was all OCD was when he liked to put his DVDs and books in alphabetical order. Another way to help is to just listen. A lot of the time when I am having a panic attack or an obsession, I just need someone to vent to as the thoughts, feelings and everything else going on inside is just too much. I don't expect my loved ones to have the answer to cure me but I do expect an empathetic and caring ear to listen to my problems and worries, regardless of how stupid, far fetched and at my worst times, delusional they sound to them.

    Have you ever supported someone else with a mental illness? - Yes, both my mum and my gran. My mum suffers from bipolar disorder, panic attacks and previously had anorexia when she was a teen and hospitalized for it. She has been stable with her bipolar for years now, its not cured but she has found the right medication for her and now she mainly goes on depressive phrases instead of manic like she did in the past when I was a kid but thankfully, her depressive phrases don't last long now nor do they make her do anything silly if you know what I mean. My gran was housebound from panic disorder and agoraphobia for 2 years about 10 years ago and now at age 72, she has anorexia. She has had for about 5 years after she got diagnosed with diabetes. She was scared her weight caused it even though she wasn't overweight and has been hospitalized for her weight a few times and now regularly sees a dietitian. She still gets panic attacks but is no longer housebound, in fact she is never in! She has a better social life than me :laugh: I don't and never have had anything to do with my biological dad but I do he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his late 20s, a few years after my mum left him.

    Most importantly, how do you look after your own mental health while helping other people? - I remind myself that I am ill too and as much as I love and care for my family, I also have to think of myself too. My mum and gran don't really need too much care now as they did in the past for their mental health, its mainly my stepdad and papa that need caring with their physical conditions nowadays. I try and do as much as I can for them whether that is escorting them to appointments, getting their food shopping for them, pay their bills in town for them etc. I am always on constant stand by in case we get the transplant call for my papa so have to always make sure my car has petrol, my phone is never on silent etc. Caring can be hard work, especially when you have mental and physical problems of your own but how I deal with it as to be open and frank about how I am feeling, delegate some of the work if I am not feeling my best to my partner, try and eat as healthy as possible, have a relaxing bath every night, have a day off and do something I want to do etc.
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    SAVING THIS SPACE FOR ME TO FILL IN SOMETIME SOON!



    If you have a mental illness, how can people help you best?

    In addition to what's already been said:

    - Don't be afraid to ask me questions. Don't assume things about my illness,or how it specifically affects me: if you're unclear on/not sure of something, just ask. Likeliness is I will be willing and able to answer!

    - Stay calm if I'm psychotic. If you flap, I will panic even more and the psychosis will escalate wildly and quickly

    - Choose your words carefully. Let me feel as though I always have a choice, even if I don't. Not having choices makes me feel boxed in, misunderstood, stigmatised, and afraid

    Those are the top things that come to mind :ninja:

    Have you ever supported someone else with a mental illness?

    Yes I have: many people, both online friends and offline friends, at a low level. The only person I've supported to a high/intense level, was someone I knew from uni and was very attached to. In retrospect, I feel I got too emotionally involved in that situation, tbh. It was very difficult, pressured and challenging. I didn't feel trapped at the time but looking back on it, I was very much trapped in that situation, in that everyone expected me (and just me) to look after this person


    Most importantly, how do you look after your own mental health while helping other people?

    - Remember that you single-handedly cannot save anyone. Especially if you have no professional training in mental health. Even in the worst case scenario, it will not be your fault

    - Be kind to yourself and prioritise your own needs if you have to. You cannot look after anyone if you are ill/low-functioning yourself. It's in the interests of the person you're caring for, as well as your own, for you to put yourself first

    - Try and make sure you have some respite. Take breaks, see friends, etc. Don't shoulder the responsibility by yourself - there are almost always other options
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    Let them know you are there for them but leave it at that unless you suspect they are having a difficult time.

    Just be willing to stay in contact with them. If they don't reply or make a poor excuse for not meeting you, know theres a reason and continue as if nothing happened.

    Basically treat them the same way you did before you knew if their depression

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    - If you have a mental illness, how can people help you best? Just being there is enough. When I had a very severe breakdown, I couldn't get out of bed, let alone go out and socialise. What badly affected me during that time was lack of communication between friends, a lot of the time it felt like unless I texted someone first or made the effort then my friends wouldn't care about me. Depression is such a lonely illness, but just a simple text can remind someone suffering that they're not alone. Also, stay calm when someone is acting irrational, anxious, agitated or frustrated because they can't help it. A lot of people essentially told me to snap out of it during panic attacks, which just made it worse. Don't take it personally if someone with depression doesn't feel like going out, sometime's it's just too much. Choose your words and actions carefully, what might seem like a bit of banter might really trigger me and my anxiety.
    - Have you ever supported someone else with a mental illness? Yes, some of my friends have suffered with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD and bipolar disorder. My dad has depression.
    - Most importantly, how do you look after your own mental health while helping other people? I remind myself that just as I know that the people around me can't save me, I can't singlehandedly save the people I love. I treat people the way I would like to be treated. I try to live a healthy life. Personally, medication has really helped me, although it did take a while to find the anti depressant which worked best for me. Currently, I'm on sertraline and it has made my life a lot calmer, I've started working out and eating healthier and I can already feel the benefits both physically and mentally. I'm in a good place right now to care and help other people, but I know if I get bad again I have to prioritise myself.
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    Depends on what you call a mental illness. There are neurological and psychical illnesses. Neurological can be cured by going to psychotherapist, and also a psychiatrist. Psychical can't be cured, it needs to be treated with medicine in order to let the person remain calm, but it cannot be completely removed. That's it.
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    If you have a mental illness, how can people help you best?

    I kind of like to be left alone.
    But sometimes I like to do something fun with friends, so planning fun things to do would be nice.


    Have you ever supported someone else with a mental illness?

    Yes. I offer advice + solutions.

    Most importantly, how do you look after your own mental health while helping other people?

    Distractions: watching cartoons, colouring, going out etc.
    Practicing mindfulness, it helps keep me sane.
    Talk to my mum and spend time with my siblings.
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    These replies are amazing, thank you! Wasn't expecting them so quick or so detailed at all, thank you keep them coming!

    (Original post by Tamuna10)
    Depends on what you call a mental illness. There are neurological and psychical illnesses. Neurological can be cured by going to psychotherapist, and also a psychiatrist. Psychical can't be cured, it needs to be treated with medicine in order to let the person remain calm, but it cannot be completely removed. That's it.
    Either- there are people on here living with and supporting people with both, and anything that might help people is good.
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    (Original post by Excuse Me!)

    Basically treat them the same way you did before you knew if their depression

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    I agree. I hated being treated differently because I have depression.

    It's also important to look after yourself and it's not unfair to sometimes say no. I did and got made out to be the bad guy in the situation.
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    Good thread.

    - If you have a mental illness, how can people help you best?

    Just knowing I have friends around me to be there for me is very helpful. I don't really like it when people treat me differently when most times, I just want to talk as though I'm normal. If people do treat me differently, it makes me feel bad too which worsens my mental health.

    If I'm having a psychotic episode, it can be hard to deal with but I prefer it if people tell me my delusions aren't real. Not in a confrontational sort of way, but more of a "Hmm, I don't think that's there...what makes you think that? " type of way. Oh, and I dislike it when people touch me when I'm having an episode - it makes me panic.

    *Have you ever supported someone else with a mental illness?

    Yes. I appreciate how difficult it is to help from the other side, but I guess it's important to remain patient and to try not to take things personally. I try to treat people as though they have no mental illness for the reasons I mentioned above. Otherwise, if they want to talk about it, just to talk things through with them. *

    Most importantly, how do you look after your own mental health while helping other people?

    I don't think I'm the best person to answer this. I often end up neglecting my own mental health (I HATE seeing my friends or family suffer through it) to help others, but this is not a good trait to have.*
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    (Original post by usycool1)
    Good thread.

    - If you have a mental illness, how can people help you best?

    Just knowing I have friends around me to be there for me is very helpful. I don't really like it when people treat me differently when most times, I just want to talk as though I'm normal. If people do treat me differently, it makes me feel bad too which worsens my mental health.

    If I'm having a psychotic episode, it can be hard to deal with but I prefer it if people tell me my delusions aren't real. Not in a confrontational sort of way, but more of a "Hmm, I don't think that's there...what makes you think that? " type of way. Oh, and I dislike it when people touch me when I'm having an episode - it makes me panic.

    *Have you ever supported someone else with a mental illness?

    Yes. I appreciate how difficult it is to help from the other side, but I guess it's important to remain patient and to try not to take things personally. I try to treat people as though they have no mental illness for the reasons I mentioned above. Otherwise, if they want to talk about it, just to talk things through with them. *

    Most importantly, how do you look after your own mental health while helping other people?

    I don't think I'm the best person to answer this. I often end up neglecting my own mental health (I HATE seeing my friends or family suffer through it) to help others, but this is not a good trait to have.*
    PRSOM :grumble: Not taking things personally and being patient can make a huge difference- guilt can be a huge part of depression and other mental illness (or any illness) and really tough to deal with. Am also the same with the last part, getting the balance is really difficult!
 
 
 
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