West Haddon Parish Council

Serving the people of West Haddon


Clerk: Mrs Gill Wells
PO Box 6583, Rugby
Warwickshire CV21 9QT

Tel: 07493 366527

If you're worried about someone's mental health

If you're worried about someone's mental health

If you're worried about someone's mental health

Mental health describes your emotional wellbeing – how you think and feel, and how you deal with everyday stresses.

Sometimes you can tell if a friend or relative is having a difficult time. But other times, you might not realise they are experiencing problems with their mental health. If you think they're struggling to cope, there are things you can do to help.

Mental health problems can affect people in different ways. Each problem has different symptoms, but they can sometimes overlap. As a general guide, keep an eye out for:

  • major life changes – have they had recent experiences that could trigger a mental health problem? For example, a diagnosis of a serious illness or a bereavement
  • physical health problems – are they getting more aches and pains, or perhaps they've been tired or sick more than usual?
  • changes in their environment – how does their home seem? For example, messy surroundings or a regularly empty fridge could be a sign they're struggling
  • changes in behaviour or mood – have they been acting differently lately? For instance, avoiding socialising when they normally enjoy it, or getting snappy more than usual.

Signs of depression

Look out for signs that they aren't taking care of themselves, such as:

  • poor personal hygiene
  • not taking care of their appearance
  • empty fridges and cupboards
  • seeming to feel down or hopeless
  • seeming more tired or restless than usual
  • not enjoying things like they used to
  • isolating themselves or avoiding visitors.

Signs of anxiety

Look out for signs that they're feeling uneasy or nervous, such as:

  • seeming restless or jumpy
  • finding it hard to concentrate
  • seeming dizzy or sick
  • trembling or sweating
  • seeming tense or uptight
  • getting irritable more than usual
  • feeling depressed.

It's difficult to know exactly what someone else is feeling. Try to find out what might be troubling them and encourage them to talk to their GP. Don't try to diagnose the problem yourself.

If you think someone is having suicidal feelings, they need help urgently. Without support, they could be at risk. Either you or they can speak to a GP, call NHS 111 or contact Samaritans. If you think they're in immediate danger of harming themselves, call 999.

A good first step is talking to them and finding out how they're feeling. If they're not ready to talk, don't force them – just let them know you're there when they need you. If you do talk, try to:

  • ask them open questions like 'how have you been feeling lately?' which prompts them to speak in their own words
  • listen to what they say and avoid judging them
  • reassure them that they're not to blame for how they feel
  • don't tell them to 'snap out of it' or 'cheer up' - getting better from a mental health problem isn't as easy as this
  • don't try to diagnose them or guess their feelings
  • ask how you can help them and give them options rather than telling them what they should do.

Help them take small steps. Feeling better can take time, so it's important to be patient with your friend or relative. Your role is to encourage them to take positive steps, without putting pressure on them. Consider trying to:

  • encourage them to talk to a GP, who can help diagnose the problem and suggest treatment options – you could offer to go with them for support
  • encourage them to take care of their physical health by eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly
  • offer practical support, such as cooking them a meal or helping out around their house
  • learn about their symptoms and triggers, or help them research self-help therapies and treatment options
  • let them know there is support out there, either through their GP, a therapist or local support group
  • if they do get treatment, encourage them to stick with it, or seek an alternative if it isn't working for them.

Keep in touch

People with mental health problems can feel like they're a burden, and people losing touch with them can reinforce that feeling. You could:

  • call for a chat, send a nice message or drop in to visit them
  • do things you normally would so their problem isn't the main focus of your relationship
  • plan something nice to do, for example, taking them on an outing or trying a new activity together
  • encourage them to think of ways they can increase their social connection
  • encourage them to keep doing things they enjoy, for example, restarting a hobby or pursuing an interest.

With the right treatment, most people experiencing a mental health problem can either get better or learn how to manage it. But it's important to let them go at their own pace and make their own decisions as much as possible.

A mental health problem combined with other medical problems can be complicated. If you're caring for someone, make sure:

  • the person you're caring for is taking all their medication and any other prescribed treatments, and doesn't neglect their physical health
  • try to be patient with them if their behaviour changes – they're not themselves right now
  • encourage them to talk about their feelings and seek help. Make sure any treatment they get for their mental health is part of a care plan that considers all their needs
  • that you're both getting the support you're entitled to

Looking after someone else can be taxing and it can be especially difficult if you've experienced a mental health problem or feel vulnerable yourself. You can only support your friend or relative if you are feeling well enough, so make sure you're taking care of your own health as well.

There might be times when you need to protect your own mental health and encourage them to have certain conversations with someone else. This could be another friend or relative, a GP or a therapist. It could also be with a confidential helpline, such as Samaritans, or a local support group. Mind has information about support groups in your area. You can also call for advice on caring for your own wellbeing.

https://www.independentage.org/get-advice/health/mental-health/helping-someone-else - 17th February 2021

Independent Age:- Helpline 0800 319 6789

Samaritans:- 116 123

Carers UK:- 0800 055 6112

Mind UK:- 0300 123 3393 / SANEline:- 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm – 10.30pm everyday).

NHS:- 111

Posted: Wed, 17 Feb 2021 10:27 by Gill Wells

Tags: Health & Wellbeing, News