Trigger Warning: Mentions of depression, suicide
The conversation around mental health has evolved, and how! We’ve come a long way, and although there are still stigmas to shake off and barriers to break, mental health today is acknowledged and spoken about. Whether it’s people seeking professional help, companies emphasising the importance of a mental health break, or family members supporting their loved one’s journey, we’re seeing these conversations turning into real, tangible and empathetic actions.
However, it’s not easy. When a loved one is struggling with their mental health, there are bound to be many questions running through your mind – how do you support them in the best possible way? What if you do or say something wrong? Where can I find the most reliable resources?
This World Suicide Prevention Day, we’re here to continue the conversation about mental health.
A Quickly Rising Public Health Issue In India
Over 800,000 people around the world die by suicide every year, and experts say that depression continues to be among the leading causes of death by suicide. According to WHO, suicide is an emerging and serious public health issue in India. The last few decades have seen an increase in suicide rates, with Maharashtra having one of the highest numbers of deaths by suicide. While the official data varies, it’s clear that suicide prevention should be among our top priorities.
Here’s How You Can Help Your Loved One
It is said that listening can be one of the best ways you can show support to your loved ones struggling with their mental health. If you’ve noticed signs of depression, make them feel like you’re there to listen, and not to give suggestions or solutions. People with depression often feel isolated, and this could help them open up to you. Having a patient, keen ear can make a world of difference.
2. Educate Yourself
There’s nothing better than reading and learning more about depression to be better equipped to help your loved one out. There are plenty of resources online and on social media that can help you understand and truly support your loved one through this journey.
3. Encourage Them
Try and be supportive while encouraging them to talk to a professional. People suffering from severe depression often are in need of medication, and professional help can go a long way in their mental health journey.
4. Help Them In Their Day To Day Activities
People with depression sometimes cannot carry out everyday tasks, and supporting them in small ways – whether it’s going shopping with them or helping them cook a meal – can be comforting to them.
5. Don’t Brush It Off
We all go through various cycles of emotions throughout our lives, but when someone is going through depression and their feelings are invalidated, it can be detrimental to them. Experts say that open-ended questions are better, but never force them to talk about it if they don’t feel like it at that moment.
These are only some of the ways to support your loved ones. This is not a conclusive list.
Here are The Suicide Prevention India Foundation’s numbers your loved one can call to speak in confidence. The counselling service run by TISS, has a crowdsourced list of therapists across the country.