One in five people suffers from mental illness, right now. That is almost one-quarter of the earth’s population. Caring about the mind is as important as caring for our bodies. Yet we do not openly talk about mental health! Is it because we worry that we might make things worse? Or because we fear unacceptance? It is time to open the door and have a conversation. Let’s start from the beginning.
Mental health is not crazy, insane, psycho, or schizo. However, 50% of the population will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives. Therefore, even if you are not quite sure what to say, say something. It is important.
Mental illness can relate to feelings and may disrupt a person’s thinking, concentration, communication, and daily functioning. Most people with mental illness can still perform their routine works; however, peek inside and find their mind on a continuous roller-coaster ride. If the root cause is not figured out and chopped off, this can grow into something very serious, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The subtle power of ‘are you okay?’
You need to let people know that you care and that you can make a difference. Most people with mental illness do not like to disclose their experience. Therefore, the relief comes when we give the opportunity to say ‘I’m not OK’. On this Mental Health Awareness month, we are going to share a few tips to open up the conversation on mental health:
- Tell them that you have time to listen.
- Be receptive.
- Spend time with the person willingly.
- Demonstrate positive body language (eye contact and relaxed sitting position).
- Use open-ended questions, which require more than a ‘yes’ and ‘No’, such as “So, what did you do next…?”
- Ask follow-up questions, such as “I observed that you are sad” or “I hate to see you down”.
- Just listen. Don’t judge. Keep an open mind.
- Be patient. Avoid ordering or advising.
- Do not pressure. Do not cheer up. Do not avoid or stay away.
- Do not tell them they need to be busy, need to party or suggest alcohol.
Mental health problem has become the number one reason for under-performing youngsters. It is important that you understand the symptoms and talk about it to them. Don’t forget to share this article and make people aware.