May was Green Ribbon month and though it’s in its fifth year, very few of my clients had heard about it when they saw the poster on my door. Green Ribbon Month was organised by See Change, the National Stigma Reduction Partnership. It is a campaign to get people talking openly about mental health.
Experiencing a mental health problem is part of the ups and downs of life and can happen to any of us. Silence around mental health stops people seeking help and makes the experience of being unwell much harder. It doesn’t have to be this way.
We don’t need to be experts to start talking about mental health. Sometimes the most helpful thing we can do is to let someone know that we are there for them and simply listen.
•Talk, but listen too: Simply being there will mean a lot.
•Take your lead from the person: As a first step, ask them how best you can help.
•Avoid the clichés: Phrases like ‘Cheer up’, ‘I’m sure it’ll pass’ and ‘Pull yourself together’ definitely won’t help – Being open minded, non-judgemental and listening will.
•Keep in touch: There are lots of small ways of showing support – Send a text or just ask someone how they are doing.
•Don’t just talk about mental health: Just be yourself, chat about everyday things as well.
For more information contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.
Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 30 May 2017