How to Check In on a Loved One’s Mental Health
Starting a conversation around mental health can be a daunting task, but to break the larger stigmas and ensure our loved ones feel supported, it’s important to be prepared for these conversations.
If you’re wondering how to check in on a loved one’s mental health, here are 4 steps you can take.
1. Open up about your own mental health.
A great way to check in on someone's mental health is to start by sharing how you have been. This way, the conversation is mutual and removes the spotlight from being on only one person. If there is something that helps you, like a product or an activity, then suggest this to them. We gave some tips on a mental health boosting bath that might be useful.
2. Ask your friend more than “what’s up?”.
Try asking more meaningful questions to open a conversation, such as "what's been on your mind recently?", or "how have you been sleeping?". If you followed the first step then you can ask something like "is this something you can relate to?". You can find a great list of questions here
3. Support their search in finding resources.
If your loved one is struggling, they may feel overwhelmed by the thought of accessing resources. See if you can support them in taking the next step, for example, finding options for local therapists or researching mindfulness exercises that you can pass onto them.
4. Don’t be hurt if they’re not interested.
As much as you might try, your loved one may not want to share about their mental health. The important thing is to show them that you won't judge them either way. This way, you are leaving the option open for them to approach you in the future.
Although these recommendations can help you start a conversation about mental health, it’s crucial that you seek professional assistance for mental health when needed. There are a variety of resources available for additional information: Government of Canada’s Mental Health and Wellness, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Mental Health, and United for Global Mental Health.