We say we know you can’t tell a person who is struggling with their mental health, but I wonder, how prepared are we to actually allow ourselves to be challenged on that in terms of our actions? There’s no point knowing it if we don’t act on it, is there?
The ‘odd’ elderly man who stands next to us in the supermarket que who hasn’t washed for ages – will we engage him in a chat, it might be the only chat he has that day?
Or that young mum screaming at her toddler on the bus - will we stop judging her and instead babble and smile at the toddler to distract them so mum gets a quiet 10 min bus journey to wind down?
If we are honest with ourselves - we all judge others. We think everyone else is coping better than us and therefore we shouldn’t ‘make a fuss’ (what if we are branded an ‘attention seeker’ or ‘drama queen’?!). It’s like playing a game of Guess Who – guess who is having bad day! Instead of asking questions about what the person’s features are, lets’ start by asking our self what we have noticed about them:
- do they look tired?
- do they seem withdrawn?
- are they their ‘usual self’?
- if I were them in their world, what would I like someone to do for me?
- could I drop them a daily text to see how they are?
- am I being a good friend to my friends?
- is there something practical I can do to support them?
Actually, the best thing you can do if you are concerned about someone is ask them.
If you are very concerned about them being in immediate danger: text them the Samaritans number, give them a call, go and see them, give them space and then be prepared to sit in silence. If you are still concerned, you can always ring 999.
Being open and non judgmental might result in less people feeling so isolated with their own feelings and thoughts.
Lets' stop judging and start talking.