What would you say if I told you that you could potentially change a friend or loved one’s life forever or EVEN save their life?
Are you serious? How?
The fact is we all can make a difference by starting simple conversations with our friends and family about mental health.
It’s a frightening statistic that1 in 8 males and 1 in 5 females will struggle with either anxiety or depression. Knowing these statistics, stop for a second and think about the people in your life. There is a high chance that someone close to you is struggling with a mental health condition. Many of us assume that the people in our lives know we are there for them if they ever need to talk. However, the truth is, in most cases people struggling with mental health conditions are so overwhelmed by their situation they cannot see that you are there to help.
I was once told by someone who had struggled with depression to squint my eyes and block my ears and he started talking to me. The sound was muffled, my sight was blurred and unclear, he then proceeded to say, “That’s what it was like for me”. He believed he had people there for him but just didn’t know who or how to ask for help? That was until he had a friend reach out to him and say they had noticed changes in him, they were concerned, and were there to listen, support and stand by him.
Similarly to cancer, mental health conditions can affect anyone, no one is immune. You may have people in your life that on the outside may appear to have the perfect life however everyday life pressures can affect anyone.
Here are a few simple ways to start “The #letstalk conversation”:
“I read an article the other day about mental health. Surprisingly, 45% of all Australians will struggle with a mental health condition in their life! If you or anyone you may know of needs to talk please know I’m here to listen and support you.”
“Guys, did you know 1 in 8 men suffer from either anxiety or depression in a 12-month period? Boys, you know if any of you need to talk I’m always here. I’m not going to judge, just help.”
“Girls, did you know 1 in 5 women suffer from either anxiety or depression in a 12-month period? Please know that if you ever feel the need to chat, I’m here for you.I’ll never judge, I’m just here to help and support you.”
“Babe, I’ve noticed that you haven’t been yourself lately. I want you to know that I’m here for you, just as you would be there for me. We’re a team and there is nothing we can’t talk about or resolve together.”
If you do have someone reach out to you don’t panic! Let them know that you are there to support them and be by their side. Make an appointment to see their local GP and show your support by going along to the appointment. The GP will help set up a plan to address their current situation. It’s important to remember that mental health issues are medical conditions that can be treated with consultation and planning from medical professionals.
By Steve Gamble - Founder of Man Anchor