Last week, was Mental Health Awareness Week, here in the UK. So all over the media there was advice on speaking out, and telling someone what you are going through. It is a nice thing to see, though when they are berating celebrities who are going through problems at the same time, it seems very shallow. But, some discussion is better than no discussion. To let people know that there is always someone for them to turn to.
But, what if someone turns to you? You may have no experience in anything mental health related, so what are you to do?
The answer is to simply listen. Normally people just need someone to talk to. Someone who isn’t going to judge, but be a shoulder to cry on when times get tough. That’s all you need to do, and whilst it might not feel like a lot, it could make a huge difference to the other person. If you react negatively, the effect that could have may be long lasting.
About 6-7 years ago, in my previous job. I struggled to speak about it, because I felt like I was getting upset over nothing. After being signed of sick, because of my depression, I returned to work to find out that I had a new team lead, a person who I had worked with before and actually didn’t mind. I explained why I was off, and got ‘why are you depressed, you have a job, a house, you have nothing to be depressed about’. It belittled every little thing I was dealing with in my head. I thought I was being a hassle, so I stopped going to doctors appointments, I stopped talking to people. I ended up hating my job, because I felt I was ungrateful because I was so depressed despite having a job. I was put in an area which I struggled with, and was shouted at by customers at least twice a day. And I planned out ending everything. What one person said to me, hit so hard at such a crucial time, that it has taken years to pick myself back up again.
So, please, if someone confides in you, don’t be critical. Even if that is what you are thinking. Because it could really cost someone their life.