No one is born a mental health expert. The topic is complicated, and in many ways, still new territory. That’s why it’s important to spend time and energy educating one another on terminology, symptoms, treatment options and productive coping mechanisms. Learning about what’s happening to our loved ones, will make us better equipped to lend a helping hand.
Education can come in many forms — reading articles, watching videos, talking with professionals, reaching out to local support groups, taking classes. The route you choose to go is dependent on cost, availability, learning style and the problems at hand. Start by reading up on warning signs for anxiety, depression, mania and other conditions. Use the internet as a valuable resource. It’s home to a wide range of free, informative content and materials. Pay attention to loved ones you’re worried about. Research communication tips for discussing mental health problems. Do a deep dive into treatment options, like medication and therapy, as well as lifestyle changes, like exercise or meditation, that can aid in recovery. Make sure to share what you learn. Often times, the best teachers are people we already know. And above all, invest in early detection efforts, such as screenings, and seek professional advice if anything is detected. Don’t wait for situations to worsen before lending a hand.