How to help support your friends or family who attends Counselling
Is someone close to you struggling with mental health? Maybe they have opened to you about thoughts and feelings of self-harm or depression? If you know someone suffering from mental health conditions, or who has gone through a large change in their life, they may be considering counselling. In this post, we will talk about how you can support your friends or family who attend counselling.
Destigmatize mental health.
One thing you can do to help your friend who attends counselling, is to join the normalization of mental health. The communication and normalizing of mental health can help people who are afraid to share their thoughts, to feel more comfortable. Sharing your own experiences and journeys can add to normalizing mental health struggles. Luckily, movies, tv shows, and other popular culture has been bringing mental health issues to the forefront. It is now more acceptable to take mental health days or to admit you are on medication.
Ask them how they are and mean it.
Often people will ask you how you are, without waiting to hear the answer. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives and problems, that our friends answer fade away as soon as they say it. Try and make yourself more present. Ask your friends and peers how they are and be an active listener. Show them that they are heard, and if they confide in you, show support by being there. You can check up on your friend by messages, keep inviting them even if they say no, and be mindful if their behaviour changes. Sometimes, just being there for someone is enough.
Share your experience with counselling.
If you have gone to counselling, you can share your experience with it. There is no shame in asking for help, on the other hand, it can be quite brave. Asking for help and voicing your problems take a lot of strength and self-reflection. Tell your friends or family about your journey. But of course, you are entitled to privacy about the situation. Only share as much as you are comfortable with. Discussing the impacts, you have felt, or some methods that your counsellor has suggested, can be a good way to introduce your friends and family to the concept of therapy.
How to help and support your friend who attends counselling?
Counselling can sometimes be an extremely confronting process. Often, people must dive deep into their past and psyche to uncover the underlying conditions that cause them to act or react. Sometimes, your friends will need space while other times they may need a hug. The best thing you can do for them, is to be there and listen. They may have specific ways on how they want to be supported.