Almost everybody knows someone in their social network that experiences or experienced mental complaints. You want to help that person and want nothing more than to take the problem away or solve it. This is understandable because you care about the person, but it is not always what someone needs. In this article you can find general tips and tricks in how to help someone with mental complaints. Know that this is different for everybody. Open the conversation with the one you want to support to find out what he of she needs from you.
How can you help?
It is very kind that you are willing to provide support to someone who needs this. It is important that you talk with the person you are supporting about what he of she needs from you, so you can be there in a way that suits you both. Here are a few tips and tricks about what you can do and what is better not to do. Talk these through with the person you are supporting to check what he or she finds important.
Tips and advices
- It is important to support someone without judgement or prejudice. Support with patience and warmth.
- Try to encourage and motivate someone with patience.
- If the other person is in therapy, it is important to realize that the other person is in charge. Do not put too much pressure on someone and don’t take over, this is counterproductive. Also, do not be too compliant. The other can draw courage from your perseverance.
- How you help exactly, depends on the wishes of the other person. Try to picture clearly what the other needs from you and expects.
- It is important that you are trustworthy. If you can not hold to your promises, do not make them.
What can you do?
- Listen and show understanding
- Encourage or help with exercises that the other person finds difficult
- Give a compliment when someone holds to their agreements
- Encourage or hug someone when he or she has a bad day
- Put your faith in someone and express your trust, also when it is hard
- Gently confront someone when he or she does not hold up to agreements
- Help the other look at the small step he or she already took
- Help the other look at the ultimate goal
What is better not to do?
- Criticise someone. This can make someone very insecure.
- Put pressure on someone when someone is not there yet
- Tell the other person what he or she does wrong
- Give a lecture to the other person about what not to do
- Let the other person down and not holding to promises
Hopefully, with these tips and tricks, you can support the person close to you. But remember is is always important to have a conversations about this to find out what he of she really needs from you.
“Social support is everything”
– Jordan Knight
Try writing down your thoughts and feelings in the ‘Feeling Registration’ to get insight in what goes on in your mind and body. Plan in your “Daily Planner” to have a conversation with the person you want to help to make agreements on how you can do this best.