Life's Challenges,  Thought of the Week

Thought of the Week – Communicating with a loved one who is facing mental health challenges.

If you were to ask anyone that knows me, I’m an open book.  This isn’t because I like to be the centre of attention or because I’m all about me (which is can be misinterpreted as ), it’s because I want whomever I’m talking with to feel comfortable enough, so that should they wish to talk or confide in me, they know that I won’t judge them and that I’ll listen with an open mind. 

Over the years, friends I’ve made along the way have struggled to know how to communicate with me regarding my mental health issues because their lives, fortunately, had not yet been touched by mental health issues or they just struggled to know what to say or how to help me. 

Thankfully, there are many tools available that can help you and your loved one better understand each other.

Below are a few examples of how to effectively communicate with someone mentally challenged and show that you understand what the other person is saying: –

  • Relax and stay calm. Also try to minimise distractions such as not having your phone on you or turning off the television or radio if in the background.
  • When talking, listen & make eye contact all the while using “I” statements and not “You” statements. Show whoever you’re talking to that you understand by acknowledging what they say and feel, even if you don’t necessarily agree.
  • Try to be open, honest & relatable, which is something I try to always do by sharing similar experiences, not taking away from what the other person is going through.

Over the years, friends I’ve made along the way have struggled to know how to communicate with me regarding my mental health issues because their lives, fortunately, had not yet been touched by mental health issues or they just struggled to know what to say or how to help me. 

Thankfully, there are many tools available that can help you and your loved one better understand each other.

Below are a few examples of how to effectively communicate with someone mentally challenged and show that you understand what the other person is saying: –

  • Relax and stay calm. Also try to minimise distractions such as not having your phone on you or turning off the television or radio if in the background.
  • When talking, listen & make eye contact all the while using “I” statements and not “You” statements. Show whoever you’re talking to that you understand by acknowledging what they say and feel, even if you don’t necessarily agree.
  • Try to be open, honest & relatable, which is something I try to always do by sharing similar experiences, not taking away from what the other person is going through.

Naturally no two people are the same so some of the tips mentioned will work and some won’t, but the most important thing is not to give up on them.  Try different techniques and if they don’t seem to be working, try to find another way to communicate.  It won’t happen overnight, it might take some time, just try your best and don’t give up.

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