Male suicide, and suicide in general, have been at the forefront of discussions recently, renewed by Love Island star’s Mike Thalassitis’ passing. It has been a year since the world witnessed Project 84, an art instillation by US street artist, Mark Jenkins, who highlighted that 84 men take their own lives each week.
We’ve been thinking a lot about how we can reduce that number and how we can improve mental health. Help, as they say, starts at home, so here are three ways you can be there for someone and uplift someone’s mental health each week.
Take Someone a Care Package
A person’s mental health is key to physical health, and often, people with a lot on their mind neglect taking care of themselves. An action as simple as making more food than normal and putting some aside for someone can make all the difference. When you next notice a friend, relative, colleague or loved one is going through something, remember to make extra food and deliver it to them. Likewise, taking some personal grooming items such as hand and body lotion or a massage voucher can also help.
Visit with a Furry Friend
Animals have consistently been shown to have positive effects on poor mental health. Being around animals and spending time fussing them can lower heart rate, decrease stress, reduce inflammation and increase happiness. When you next think about popping in on a friend having a rough time, if they don’t already have a pet of their own, be sure to take a pet of yours with you!
Have a Coffee and a Catch Up
How often do you invite someone over for coffee? The key to improving and keeping an eye on someone’s mental health is to be there for them often. When we do not see someone for a while and ask how they are, we tend to receive their highlight reel – what they have recently been up to and their latest funny stories. The more we reach out to people, the more likely they are to share genuine thoughts, feelings and concerns. You are therefore more likely to gain an insight into how someone is feeling, provide a space for them to be vulnerable and open with you, and have an opportunity to provide advice and support. It all starts with frequent invitations for coffee and a catch up so top up on your favourites here.
It's also useful to know that you do not need to have gone through the same thing as your friend, have qualifications in therapy or know the right thing to say at the right time, in order to be there for someone. In fact, unsolicited advice is usually unwanted in this case. Just know that it is enough to be there for someone to agree ‘this sucks’ but let them know you care and are always there.
How do you show that you are there for someone? We’d love to know your thoughts!