How To Be Supportive
When someone experiences a mental health challenge, here is how you can be supportive:
LISTEN: Let someone really express their experiences. Being someone they can talk to is essential when giving support.
BE NON-JUDGMENTAL: Don’t criticize or minimize the way they feel. You may not be able to understand exactly what they’re going through, and that’s ok.
ASK WHAT, NOT WHY: When you ask questions, avoid asking ‘why’ questions, and instead ask ‘what’ questions. Asking why can have a judgmental tone even if you don’t mean it that way.
GIVE INFORMATION - DON’T DIAGNOSE: Don’t assume they have an illness or condition. Provide direction to resources that can identify and treat mental health issues.
ACT AS A BRIDGE: You can connect someone to mental health resources. Resources include family, school guidance, mental health professionals, and organizations like HFTD.
TEAMMATE IN SUPPORT: Being supportive doesn’t mean your duty is to ‘fix’ someone. Mental health is complicated and solutions aren’t overnight. As a teammate, the best support you can give is by being a trusting ear, helping to navigate resources, and acting as a source of encouragement.