Mental health is a real silent killer and in our part of the world where very little is done to fight it, the situation is arguably more endemic.
Our health care system already has little to be desired and given that mental health is rarely given the attention it requires, the state of mental health care is fraught with many additional challenges.
Though it is very normal for one to seek medical care for a headache, people are less likely to seek medical care when they are experiencing mental health challenges.
In many cases, people can’t even tell when they are experiencing any mental health challenge.
A number of issues may be the cause of someone experiencing mental health challenges, these include the loss of a job, marriage or relationship breakdown, other health complications among others.
However, just as any medical condition, people who have mental health challenges exhibit certain symptoms.
These include but are not limited to the feeling of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness.
Sometimes the person could have angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters.
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility are also signs of mental health problems.
The very sad end to someone experiencing mental health challenges is that she or he may end up committing suicide with the aim of putting an end to the pain.
However, as friends and family when our loved ones are exhibiting some of these signs, we need to do our best to get help for the person.
In many cases, they will not ask for help, however, as the loved one, you must do your best to get them the help they need.
In many cases, we don’t even know how to provide the help and that is why we have this article.
First, you need to engage the person in a conversation no matter how hostile or non-interactive the person is. In as much as you want to talk to the person to seek help, ensure that you also listen to him or her as that will make them feel heard.
During the conversation, which might not be a one-off conversation, make the person understand that he or she needs professional help. Emphasise that mental health is a medical condition that can be treated by trained doctors, nurses and therapists. Click here for contacts of mental healthcare professionals.
Offer to help him or her identify a professional for help. Most people do not know where to go for mental healthcare. When you offer to help, it stops him or her from worrying about how to get the help you managed to convince him or her to seek. It also makes them aware that they are not alone and that they have support.
Recognize that road to recovery is a long journey and that patience is a necessary virtue. Recovery should be rushed, however, you must see signs of improvement. There should be no pressure on him or her that they should be better after a specific time.
Mental health is a very transient health problem and people suffering from mental health need all the help they can get.
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