Because this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, we have decided to do some research ourselves. 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem, so the chances are we all know someone who struggles, but might not know how to support them.
So, our Oxford hotel has put together a few ways you can help someone if you know or suspect they might be struggling.
Find a safe space
Opening up about mental health isn’t always easy, so choose somewhere safe to talk and make your surroundings as comfortable as possible. People are much more likely to talk openly and honestly about their feelings if they feel comforted in a safe environment.
Remember, you’re not a trained counsellor or therapist, so while you’re trying to help, avoid jumping to conclusions or telling people why they’re feeling like they are. If you think the person might need to see a professional, you could always offer to go to the doctors with them or help them to find a counsellor.
Once someone has made the decision to discuss their mental health with you, it’s important to really listen. Try not to talk over them or interrupt while they’re opening up. It can be extremely frustrating and might force them to retreat into themselves.
Keep questions open
Ask a neutral question like, “would you like to tell me how you’re feeling?” and give the person as much time as they need to answer. It might take a while, but these conversations shouldn’t be rushed.
Talk about your own experiences
When and if it feels right, you could ask the person if they would like to know how you’ve dealt with things in the past, should you have struggled. For example, saying something like, “It helps me to write down something I’m grateful for every day, although I know that might not help everyone, it helps me.”
Please note, this post is not intended to professionally advise on how to support someone with mental health issues, these are our own opinions. If you are struggling or know someone who is, you can always visit www.mind.org.uk or call 0300 123 3393 (Mon – Fri, 9 am – 6 pm).
Our hotel in Oxford urges everyone at this time to stay alert and stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you when our doors reopen in the future.