Hey everyone, I’m Angela, my passion is to break the stigma of mental health issues among fellow Christians. I’m here to help you live a life of purpose—in your relationship with God and with one another. I’d love for you to subscribe to my channel so we can connect.
Today we’re going to talk about: What Your Friends with Mental Illness Want You to Know—But Are Afraid to Say.
Although I don’t have a mental illness myself, several of my family members do and as a minister and the director of mental health at His Heart Foundation, www.hisheartfoundation.org I have a lot of experience with these issues up close and personal.
Fighting mental illness takes courage and perseverance. It’s hard for your friends and loved ones to articulate what they are going through and my hope is that these insights will help you develop greater empathy and understanding.
1. Don’t wait for them to call you.
I know it might sound selfish, but your friend needs a little extra help with maintaining connection. Mental illness is inherently isolating. Even when you’re in a room full of people, you can feel alone because it’s hard to connect when you are depressed or experiencing anxiety. Just having someone reach out intentionally means the world.
2. Offer to do something active with your friend.
Harvard Health Publications reported that the effects of exercise on depression can last longer than those of antidepressants. Just take that in for a moment, that’s pretty awesome, right? But how do get yourself to exercise when you can’t get out of bed or when you’re so depressed you don’t have the energy to walk down the block? Having someone offer to meet you for a walk or a hike can make all the difference.
3. Forgive them.
There are times when mental illness isn’t going to be pretty. They might not be able to follow through with commitments or they might act like themselves at all. It’s not personal and honestly we all need grace. They’re going to have a hard enough time forgiving themselves so extending forgiveness is a powerful message.
4. Mental illness is different for everyone.
Make an effort to learn and understand each individual. One person with depression can be higher functioning than another, but that doesn’t make the struggle any less real. Depression or anxiety can manifest in an angry outburst or complete withdrawal. Mental illness is never one size fits all.
5. Pray with your friends.
Sometimes it’s just too hard to ask for prayer. You feel like a broken record. Most of time we say, “I’ll be praying for you.” Instead of stopping and saying, “Can I pray with you now?” There’s something about standing with someone shoulder to shoulder—even when we don’t have all the answers and supporting them in prayer.
Do not withhold good from those who need it, when you have the ability to help. – Proverbs 3:27
Question and Action Steps:
What would you say to your friends if you weren’t afraid of judgement or misunderstanding? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.
Please subscribe for more videos on our Youtube Channel and check out our Mental Health Monthly subscription so you won’t miss out on any of our amazing resources. I’ll be sharing great tips and encouragement for whatever your facing—whether you’re fighting mental illness or have a loved one who is.