Worrying about a parent’s mental health? We’re here to help…
It’s upsetting to see someone we love going through a tough time, and it can be difficult to know how to support them. If you’re worried about someone you love, maybe your dad, mum or sibling, we’re here to help.
Spot The Signs
It’s not always easy to work out if someone is struggling, especially if they put a brave face on things or find it difficult to talk about their feelings. Everyone deals with emotions differently but there are many signs to look out for that may indicate a person is struggling to cope. These are:
- Agitated behaviour – restless or short-tempered
- Being tearful
- Quiet and withdrawn
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Using drugs or alcohol to cope
- Tired and less energetic
- Talking about feeling hopeless or a like a failure
- Talking about feeling trapped
- Ignoring messages and/or avoiding talking to or being with people
People who suffer from depression often become withdrawn which makes these signs more difficult to spot. However, if you live with the person you’re worried about, you may have noticed a definite change in their behaviour.
How To Support Someone You’re Worried About
Talk to an adult you trust about your concerns to get support. Your mental health is just as important as the person you’re worried about – you need supportive, caring people around you. Living with someone with depression can be extremely difficult at times and having support is so important.
“I Care About You”
Let the person you’re worried about know that you care about them. Say it plainly and honestly while you look them directly in the eyes. When a person has depression, they might feel as if they don’t matter to anyone. Letting them know that’s not the case might make a difference.
“How Can I Help?”
When someone has depression, even the simplest tasks can feel like a mountain to climb. Offer to help where you can – this helps to reduce some of the anxiety and stress your loved one might be battling with.
“Do You Want To Talk?”
Ask your loved one if they want to talk. They may not want to talk to you about their feelings but knowing you’re there for them can be reassuring. You could also suggest they talk to their doctor to get help. Explain how concerned you are about them and encourage them to visit their GP to get an expert’s opinion.
“You’re Not Alone”
Depression can be the loneliest feeling in the world. Let your loved one know that they are not alone. Being by their side, holding their hand, listening to them calmly and patiently – all of these things help to show them that they are not alone in this world and that someone cares about them.
Supporting Someone With Suicidal Thoughts
Always take someone seriously if they say they’re having suicidal thoughts. It can be incredibly difficult to hear these words but try to stay calm and reassuring and seek help. Call 999 if you think a person is in immediate danger. Keep talking to the person and encourage them to tell you how they’re feeling. People who feel suicidal often feel a huge sense of relief when they admit how they’re feeling to someone else.
If they’re not an immediate threat to their own safety, try to encourage the person to call their doctor to get help. Ask for help from other adults, too, such as family members or friends. You can also suggest they call The Samaritans on 116 123 if they’d prefer to talk to someone they don’t know.
Get more advice on supporting someone with suicidal thoughts here.
For more help on depression, click here.