Mental Health Teamwork
The first step is to help yourself by becoming open to the fact that mental illness is not some crazy psychological “in your head thing” caused by demonic possession or weakness; let us end the stigma that keeps many people from coming out and seeking the treatment they deserve and need. Just as how physical disorders harm the body, the same concept applies with mental illness: the mind is being rocked out of its place.
By accepting that mental illness is real and not a “weakness”, you are now ready to share your heart and mind with someone with a mental illness. Listen to them! Sometimes just listening is half the battle of helping someone defeat a mental illness. There is something magical and therapeutic by listening to someone share their symptoms: it helps them feel understood and appreciated.
Show them empathy and concern; show them that you truly care! Patients suffering from mental illness can tell when a psychiatrist is truly caring for them; it radiates like the sunshine on a warm summer day. To show empathy is to attempt to understand the emotions and suffering that someone with a mental illness is experiencing; it is stepping into their life and sharing their pain, even if it’s for a moment!
Be there for them! If it is someone close to you like a family member or a close friend, keep in contact as much as possible. When you allow someone with a mental illness to become isolated, their chances of committing suicide dramatically increases; isolation is a campground for negative and harmful thoughts. Maintaining a strong and close connection with someone suffering from a mental illness often helps them cope more efficiently and get through their illness; your presence makes a difference.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)