We all strive to support our loved ones and try to do the best for them, isn’t it? So, let us have a look at some skills you can develop to enable mental health support and increase help-seeking behaviour!
As per the oxford dictionary, skill is defined as the ability to do something well.
It doesn’t necessarily involve gaining expertise over something, neither is it impossible to develop.
We can always work towards the development of certain skills which help to increase mental health support amongst others as well as for our own selves.
Let’s have a look at some of them which we can aim to develop within each of us:
• Non-Judgemental Attitude: avoiding moral judgments; not quick to judge people and criticize them.
We often unconsciously judge and even criticize the choices & decisions of others via our lens of what is “morally correct”. However, what may be ‘right’ for us may be completely ‘wrong’ for the other person. Culture also plays an important role in determining our patterns of moralities and social norms.
It is easier to criticize someone by saying that ‘your problems are nothing’ or that ‘you are simply creating a fuss’, but the harsh marks that these statements can leave on the other person are even beyond our imagination.
Therefore, let us all choose a little difficult path, but one that is surely in everyone’s best interest. Let us try to take and understand things from the perspective of the person saying them, let us try not to impose our values and beliefs on others, let us try not to judge others and accept them for who they are and as they are.
These small initial tries can surely lead us to a long way of creating an atmosphere around us where individuals feel free to express themselves, where they do not feel the need to hide aspects of their personality or thoughts, and society where help-seeking isn’t looked down upon.
• Empathy: the classic definition of empathy is walking in the shoes of the other person. Okay so, have you ever borrowed someone’s footwear for a function or in an emergency? How did you feel? The sole was a bit different, the shoe was somehow adjusted according to the feet of its owner, maybe it had some uncomfortable aspects or probably it was all clean and new, and so on…
But it was only when you actually wore that footwear, that you realized how they actually feel!
Similar is the concept of empathy. Unless we put ourselves in the situation and circumstances of the other person, we would never realize the reason behind their behavior. I know it seems to be an extremely impossible task, and it may even feel like a burdensome job to think from other’s perspectives. But who said it was going to be easy? However, with patience and practice, we can surely, slowly, and steadily begin to incorporate this skill.
• Active Listening: have you ever vomited out your thoughts in front of someone with complete faith? Only to realize that they weren’t actually listening, rather simply looking at you!
How did it actually feel? Terrible right?
And that is exactly why we need to actively listen to the other person. Active listening means fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker.
With practice and effort, we can definitely provide an atmosphere to people around us where they feel ‘heard’.
There are many other skills that can be incorporated to increase mental health support, we will surely discuss them some other day!
Now you may ask that how are these skills useful?
Let’s look at some of the benefits-
– They increase help-seeking behaviour & reduce the stigma around mental health.
– Reaching out can become a smooth process for everyone; thereby reducing the associated shame, guilt, and pressure to be “strong”
– You can create a safe space around you where people feel comfortable to express their emotions; and thereby you yourself begin to realize the importance of expressing and valuing mental health
Besides knowing and practicing these skills, another essential thing to be kept in mind is ‘care for self‘.
Yes, as much as it is important to provide a comfortable atmosphere for others; it is also essential to take care of your own self and not fall into the trap of burnout.
After all, we need to fill our own cup before we can lend water to someone else!
These are some of the things that are often loosely talked about or discussed but are immensely important as well as essential.
Are you ready to incorporate these small yet significant changes in your life?