Advocacy Can Come From Anyone
Produced by: Ryan Brong, Eric Stone
Advocacy is one of the most important things anyone can do to bring awareness to mental health in America. It's also one of the easiest. Advocacy can come from anyone and anywhere.
How to Advocate for Those Living with Mental Health Conditions
Making a safe space for loved ones to be open and talk about their mental health is important because this can be a hard topic to discuss. Here are some steps that can be taken in order to create a safe space:
Express concern: Sometimes a loved one won’t come right to you when they are struggling. Sometimes, you will have to approach them and say what you have been seeing. It is not easy, but it also shows the individual that you care about them and that you’re interested in their well-being.
Show trust: When talking to a loved one, preface the conversation by assuring them that you won’t share their story without consent unless they are of harm to themselves or others, in which case you will direct them to a professional. It is important to create a bond and a safe space for that individual without the worry that others will find out what they are going through.
Make sure to listen: Be understanding of what a loved one is going through and do not interrupt when they are speaking. Often times, it took a lot of effort for them to come to someone for help and they may just want to be heard.
Be understanding: If you have never experienced a mental health challenge, it is hard to truly understand what the other individual is going through. Do your research and let them know you will do your best to understand what they are experiencing so you are able to help them in ways that will be beneficial.
Be available: When a conversation about mental health begins, it is going to be a little uncomfortable for both parties. It will be uncomfortable for the individual experiencing the mental health challenge because they may not have opened up about the topic before, and it may be uncomfortable for you because you do not know exactly what they are going through.
Written by: Shannon Finn