Updated: Jun 28
During this time people who have a mental health diagnosis may be experiencing heightened symptoms. People who live with depression may find themselves even more depressed because of social distancing and multiple stores being closed. Anxiety is at an all-time high right now because people are afraid of coming in contact with the #Coronavirus. This is causing people to take steps such as staying in their homes, purchasing extra masks and gloves, and avoiding contact with other people (even close friends and family members).
It takes active listening to encourage appropriate professional help. While someone who is certified in Mental Health First Aid knows how to identify a #mentalhealth emergency, that doesn't allow us to make professional recommendations or prescribe medicine. Active listening allows you to make the best recommendation for professional help. During this time many people are using Zoom for online meetings. This includes groups who hold weekly mental health and substance abuse support groups.
"I know you are scared and anxious about going outside, have you tried seeking an online support group?". Many online groups provide supportive counseling from professionals who have dedicated their careers to mental health. It is valuable to also know what resources are available during this pandemic so you can offer them to others. Encouraging this type of help allows people to be social while still practicing social distancing. The Coronavirus has created fear and panic through the country. Encouraging professional supportive counseling is a great way for you to help someone dealing with depression.
Someone may say "I don't want all those people in my business". That's OK as well, when they say this you can encourage one on one therapy. Clinical psychologist are aware that people in the country are worried at this time. Some are even offering discounted or free telehealth therapy sessions. For those employees who are considered essential during this time their jobs may offer added benefits. You can ask the person if they have downloaded their employer's Coronavirus information that is being distributed throughout the company.
Encourage medication is something that I personally stay away from, but some may be open to the suggestions. How would that conversation go? What makes you the expert on mental health? Doing research on medication, or first hand experience of taking a specific medication should make this conversation easier. "You know, I have many of the symptoms you are experiencing and ABC medication worked for me. Maybe you should talk to your doctor about trying it". This makes the conversation easier because nobody wants to be told "You need to be put on medication".
When encouraging professional help it's important to keep your personal opinions to yourself. No matter what you think about the situation you encounter it is your mission to provide unbiased encouragement. It takes a true professional to become Mental Heath First Aid certified, and an even bigger professional to put the action steps into action. The Coranavirus has halted multiple operations in the country. However, mental health operations cannot stop. People are hurting and they need help. Encourage people to seek the proper help based upon their situation.