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VIOLET PROJECT

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When a loved one breaks their leg, we can see the wound because of the plaster cast that is on their leg and we help them during their time of need. However, Mental health isn’t always that easy to see, because unlike physical first aid we can’t see the wounds, scars or pain they are going through.

 

Mental health just as real, and it’s just as important to help your loved one who is going through pain and uncertainty. So we have teamed up with Violet Project  www.violetproject.co.uk  with some advice.

Violet Projects Top Eight tips to talking about mental health

Sometimes it will seem obvious when someone is going through a hard time because they are talking about it, they may cry, get angry etc. Sometimes the signs are not as obvious because the person may be withdrawn, quiet and stops replying to texts or cancels plans. Either way we need to check in with them and see how we can support them. Here is some advice:

1. Set time aside with no distractions

It is important to provide an open and non-judgemental space with no distractions. Maybe a coffee or walk away from loud noise and lots of people.

2. Let them share as much or as little as they want to

Let them lead the discussion at their own pace. Don’t put pressure on them to tell you anything they aren’t ready to talk about. Talking can take a lot of trust and courage. You might be the first person they have been able to talk to about this.

3. Don't try to diagnose or second guess their feelings

You probably aren’t a medical expert and, while you may be happy to talk and offer support, you aren’t a trained counsellor. Try not to make assumptions about what is wrong or jump in too quickly with fixing things. You won’t be able to ‘fix’ their problems and it’s important that you realise that. Yes, you can offer advice around services that can support them, ie abuse, drug, debt organisations etc.

4. Keep questions open ended

Say "Why don’t you tell me how you are feeling?" rather than "I can see you are feeling very low". Try to keep your language neutral. Give the person time to answer and try not to grill them with too many questions.

5. Talk about self-care

Talk about ways of de-stressing or practicing self-care and ask if they find anything helpful. Exercising, having a healthy diet and getting a good night’s sleep can help protect mental health and sustain wellbeing. We sometimes forget how this can have such a huge impact on our wellbeing.

6. Listen carefully to what they tell you

Repeat what they have said back to them to ensure you have understood it. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying, but by showing you understand how they feel, you are letting them know you respect their feelings. Acknowledge what they have said and support “I'm really sorry you're going through this” “That sounds really difficult.”

7. Offer them help in seeking professional support and provide information on ways to do this

Ask them “What can I do to help?"  You might want to offer to go the GP with them, or calling a support line or even help them talk to a friend or family member. You could also go along and support them with the first contact with services relating to their needs, ie abuse, drug, debt organisations etc. Try not to take control and allow them to make decisions.

8. Know your limits

You will have your own limits to the support that you can provide. And it's important to take care of yourself too. Give yourself time to rest and process what they have told you or what’s happened. Try to help them create a support network of other friends, relatives and mental health professionals who can help them too.

Remember that If you believe they are in immediate danger or they have injuries that need medical attention, you need to take urgent action to make sure they are safe. Confidentiality needs to be broken when we are talking about life and dead. More details on support around wellbeing Suicide and Self-harm can be found at www.violetproject.co.uk

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