If someone in your life suffers from mental health issues, it’s only natural to want to help them as much as you possibly can. However, you have to be extremely careful in how you provide that support, as mental health issues can be complicated matters that require a gentle and well-guided hand.
Issues of this kind come in many forms and vary greatly in severity. Anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, phobias and eating disorders are all classed as mental health problems, in addition to more serious issues like PTSD, schizophrenia and multi-personality disorders. They can be as complex as they are varied, and knowing the right approach to take is vital.
If you’re not fully informed when trying to help someone with psychological issues, you can end up doing more harm than good. That’s precisely what we look at here, as we analyse the precise reasons why educating yourself about mental health can help enormously.
Ensuring You Don’t Make Things Worse
There are many different variables at work in anyone’s life, and when someone begins to experience mental health problems, it’s impossible to know exactly why the issues exist. It could be related to personal trauma, drink or drug abuse, or even the loss of someone close to them, and each person’s situation is unique to them. That means an approach that’s unique to them is also needed.
Professionals working in mental health will typically use a comprehensive assessment process to determine a person’s support requirements. That’s because caution is very much the watchword before a diagnosis is determined, and it illustrates that an informed approach is always called for, regardless of why the problems have arisen.
You may think that you are an empathetic person, but if you attempt to help someone with mental health problems inappropriately, you can end up with the issue worsening. Professionals use a highly-tailored approach for those they care for, for a reason. Mental health training can give you the information you need to always approach things correctly.
Understanding What a Person Is Going Through
If you have no education in mental health and have not experienced problems yourself, it makes it very difficult to empathise with the friend or family member you’re trying to support. No one is ever quite prepared to deal with mental issues when they occur, which is why it’s so difficult to cope on your own when it happens to you. Relating to others when you feel like this can often feel impossible.
When you comprehend what someone’s going through, you better understand what they need from you. There will be occasions when a shoulder to cry on is what is called for, but others when someone just wants to be left alone entirely. Knowing what to do in any situation benefits you and the person you’re trying to help.
Social workers, community support workers and those working in mental health fields are there to support people of all ages and backgrounds, which makes understanding their needs even trickier, as you could be helping a child with behavioural problems one day and an adult with depression the next. Roles like this require a lot of training, and the learning never stops.
Understanding & Recognizing the Warning Signs
Being close to a friend or loved one with mental health issues a lot of the time doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to tell when they’re having a problem. The symptoms of conditions like these can be easy to miss, especially as we all react differently when experiencing them. When you’re not trained to notice the warning signs, they can be incredibly easy to overlook.
The various mental conditions and existing disorders will manifest in different ways, which is why they’re so hard to spot. When someone starts to display symptoms, they might actually become more energetic and happy, which often happens with Bipolar disorder, experience panic attacks or simply.
Start acting differently from their usual selves.
People can also be very defensive when dealing with their psychological issues, so they may do everything they can to hide it from you. Training in mental health issues can equip you with the knowledge needed to spot the signs that a problem is developing earlier, meaning that your friend or family member gets the help that much more quickly.
Working Together to Create a Management Routine
Something else that mental health training teaches you is that creating stable routines is half of the battle to helping someone recover more quickly. It also teaches you that a gentle yet repetitive approach to mental wellbeing and recovery where you work together can be a really effective way to treat issues relating to the mind.
The term ‘baby steps’ is very apt when helping someone recover from mental issues, as you focus on finding positives wherever they lie. It involves getting your loved one or friend to feel like a valuable part of the social group and the wider community, and it begins by getting them to be able to look at themselves in the mirror and feel comfortable in their own skin.
These ‘wins’ can seem like minor achievements to someone looking in from the outside, but getting out of the house and back into the real world can be momentous. It reinforces feelings of everyday life being within their grasp and having hopes and dreams for the future, so it’s much more than simply setting foot outside.
Helping someone back onto their feet often includes helping them have better social lives, ways to express themselves creatively, and communicate with those around them. The structure that’s created around a person with mental health problems can be key to their chances of success. It’s yet another thing that is taught in-depth when taking mental health training.
A Support Structure Improves a Person’s Likelihood of Recovery
When a support structure is created to help someone get back to normality from problems like these, it does more than just create a framework for their recovery. It also represents a supportive symbol in the person’s mind that they’re being looked after and helped - which can go an awfully long way to making them feel good about themselves again.
The ‘together’ element is also extremely important as many people like to feel in control of their own lives rather than a patient that needs to be cured. Talking through their issues with you and creating a plan can make them feel empowered to make the changes they need to their lifestyle to ensure that they get well and remain well.
Again, without professional or personal experience in these kinds of issues, the chances that you might do harm whilst you’re trying to help can increase dramatically. And as someone who’s genuinely wanting to make a positive difference to your friend or family member, that’s obviously not what you want to do.
Get the Knowledge Required to Provide Real Ongoing Support
As you can see, providing support to someone with mental health problems is not as simple as being there for them, as conditions can present in so many different ways. By getting mental health training provided by people with experience in the field, you get a comprehensive grounding in all matters relating to providing the kind of support you want to give.
At Online Courses Australia, we offer a wide range of online professional training, and our Certificate in Mental Health gives you all the knowledge you could possibly need. It’s a 190 study-hour course that covers the full spectrum of mental well-being topics for children, adolescents and adults. In fact, it’s so thorough that by completing it, you can actually use it to find employment as mental health or community support worker.
If you would like to know more about this or any of the online courses we offer, why not visit us online at www.onlinecoursesaustralia.edu.au and take a look around. Whilst there, you can learn about how our online courses can be taken at your own pace and even paid for in instalments to make them more accessible to everyone.
Alternatively, should you need any assistance in enrolment, or you simply have some questions that you would like to ask before you sign up, call us on 1300 611 404, and our friendly team will do their utmost to give you the answers you need.
Thanks for reading. We hope that it has shown you how important it is for you and your loved ones to be informed when it comes to mental health. Everyone benefits, and training is easier to access than you might think.