The power of positive relationships on mental health
There are never any simple solutions or answers to mental health challenges, this is especially true for suicide. Those who contemplate ending their lives are usually at an emotionally draining and isolating precipice of a mental health crisis, they see no way out of. This is why, one of the most important aspects of our lives is to develop positive relationships; having fulfilling and meaningful relationships with our friends and family, people who we love and respect, can help create meaning in our lives and make for an important support system.
If you know someone who is struggling with their mental health, here are some ways to help them deal with their crisis and be that one person in their lives who can truly help make a difference shared by Dilshad Khurana, Psychologist, Head Mpower, Helpline.
Be empathetic: Empathy is the basis of most human relationships, and it is an even more crucial component when dealing with someone who is going through a mental health crisis. The key to developing meaningful relationships is to really listen to what someone has to say rather than just hearing what they have to say. For instance, while speaking with someone who is going through a tough time with regard to their mental health, it is important that you make eye contact with them during the conversation and be fully present in the moment. Avoid interrupting them or deviating from conversation to a frivolous topic. Try to build a deeper conversation with them and listen to them intently. This can help the opposite person feel more seen and heard, and will eventually help them to open up to you about their mental health struggles.
Be aware of the other person's perspective: Always keep the other person's perspective in mind - this is a seemingly simple yet difficult piece of advice to follow. When we take the time to see things from the other person's point of view, it helps us to understand them better and make for a more meaningful relationship.
After all, everyone wants to feel like their experiences and opinions are valued and respected, and for those struggling with their mental health, this is even more important. Hence, try to look at things from the other person's perspective the next time you are in a conversation, you may be surprised by what you discover and even help them see beyond their current situation.
Open communication: Communication is one of the first things we learn in life - whether it is learning how to speak or using actions and gestures to convey our feelings, it is one of the most primal aspects of human life. However, as we grow older, communicating meaningfully gets harder, and having tough conversations about how we truly feel gets rarer. But these conversations are vital for those who are coping with issues such as depression or anxiety. And at times, having open and honest conversations can mean the difference between life and death. Thus, communicating openly and honestly with those dealing with mental health struggles is a crucial aspect of developing healthy and positive relationships.
Relationship with oneself: While external relationships play an important role in our lives, the most significant relationship we have is the one with ourselves. Building our self-esteem and self-worth is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and it is a crucial aspect of mental health.
If we want to cultivate a positive relationship with ourselves, we need to be kind and forgiving, accept our flaws, and work on accepting our bodies and minds the way they are - this is probably the most important thing we can do for our mental health.
Seek help: Life is not easy when we are under a lot of pressure. Sometimes, we may feel like we aren't good enough and that everything is going wrong. Such feelings can easily precipitate into thoughts of self-harm. However, it is important to know that there is a way out of such a vicious cycle, and trained professionals such as therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists can help immensely.
Through their years of experience and study, therapists are trained to help people who are dealing with mental health crises. For instance, someone who is going through a breakup after a long-term relationship or a student who has failed their exam - for them, these failures might seem monumental and something that they cannot get past. However, a trained psychologist can help them to realize that failures in exams, careers, or relationships aren't permanent. Thus, seeking help is perhaps the most important tool in the fight against suicide and mental health problems.
Additionally, society plays a significant role in promoting mental health awareness. Through public awareness initiatives such as street plays like the one recently conducted by Whistling Woods International at Churchgate station on World Suicide Prevention Day, or street art, people can help reduce the stigma associated with discussing mental health openly.
Thus, having positive personal relationships and being part of a society that is non-judgemental about mental health issues are some of the most important factors that can help to prevent suicide.
If you think somebody you know might be struggling, don't hesitate to seek help. Together, we can help prevent suicides by building more positive relationships in our communities and talking about mental health more openly. For professional support, you can reach out to the Suicide prevention helpline.