How would you react if someone discolses a mental health problem to you? This week’s podcast will help you handle the unexpected.
What Would You Do if Someone Discloses a Mental Health Problem to You?
“I have diabetes,” my friend said when I offered her a cookie.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “That must be difficult.”
She shrugged. “I’ve gotten used to it. It’s not my favorite thing, but I can control it with diet and exercise.”
“I had gestational diabetes,” I told her. “It took months before I could handle the finger pricks without grossing out.”
She laughed. “Oh, me, too!”
We went back to our teacher’s lunchroom conversation about upcoming events and schedules. Her disclosure didn’t bother me at all. In fact, it helped me understand her better and adapt my behavior so I could act as a better friend to her.
If only we had the same reaction to someone who discloses a mental health problem to us! “I have diabetes” sounds so much easier to handle than “I have bipolar disorder,” “I feel suicidal,” or “I’m so depressed.” If someone discloses a mental health problem on this scale, we want to run for the hills.
Ok, you may not want to run for the hills, but I’ve had a few people disclose mental health problems to me and my initial reaction has always involved running and staying away as long as possible. God has given me to foresight to not follow my inclinations. He’s also helped me see I don’t have to have that kind of a knee-jerk reaction.
As a society, we’re getting better at talking about mental health problems. One out of five adults in the United States will experience a mental illness or mental health problem during their lifetime. If you and your spouse invite eight people over for dinner, two of them have probably struggled with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, suicidal ideation, or one of the other 200 mental illnesses recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.
The Mind is Just Another Organ
Our brains can get sick, just like the rest of our organs and systems. In order to keep them healthy, we need to take care of past traumas and take good care of our mental wholeness. We can also do our part to normalize mental health problems by sharing our experiences with others and calling out people who shame those who suffer.
You don’t have to have a counseling degree to know what to do if someone discloses a mental health problem to you. The first time a student shared with me their suicidal thoughts, I stayed with her until help arrived. She didn’t want me to fix her problem, she wanted me to help her take the next step.
Listen to today’s podcast for more tips on what to do if someone discloses a mental health problem to you.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has wonderful information about how prevalent mental illness is in the United States.How would YOU react if someone discloses a mental health problem to you? #stopthestigma #mentalillness Click To Tweet
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