supporting mental health

We know that sometimes it can be hard to know how to help yourself or a loved one struggling with their mental health. We also know a lot of people don’t know how to ask for help. So we have asked for you! Here is a list of all different peoples experiences with what they find helpful AND unhelpful when it comes to support for their mental health. We hope that you find something on here that you’ve not tried before!

 

If you want to help contribute to pages like this you might want to become a contributor

  • Mental Illness: 

    Borderline personality disorder, anorexia Nervosa, GAD, social AD, panic disorder and MDD

    What can you do to support yourself?

    To support myself I need to have faith in the things that I have available to me eg. Self sooth items can help relieve some of my distress. It can seem really scary to take that leap of faith but I ultimately have to take it. Practising skills such as mindfulness and distress tolerance at a time I'm not in a crisis can really aid me when I'm in a crisis, building connections to better support myself when those times of utter horribleness arise. Mainly, I know that I need to have available - primarily through a lot of therapy - such as tangles, fidget cubes, ice for ice diving and having resources available for reminders on what skills to use. I need to ensure I have them on hand, at home, in a school or work bag or out and about.

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    Often the best thing others can do is listen to me, or help prompt me to use skills because that's more efficient in the long run. When others simply listen instead of putting words in my mouth, it can be a relief getting the clutter out of my head into open air. Sometimes it's listening to me - and not always with what I say but my body language and facial queues. There's times you'll have to do what you don't have to do to support me such as informing professionals, but when I've calmed down and found my wise mind I'll understand and appreciate that. I often like it when others help to ground me during panic attacks too, like holding my hands, and during a period of low mood (not in relation to a crisis) I tend to enjoy a simplistic hug. I don't need advice, often I just need love.

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    I don't find it helpful when people are blunt with me, but that's just a personal approach I struggle to process and tolerate. I can tolerate a "kick up the bum side" but I find any perceived anger as a threat which can accentuate my distress. I also find comments about weight gain in regards to a (small) part of my anorexia recovery, because this doesn't mean I'm recovered by any means. I find the concept of not being emaciated difficult, and the reminder that I'm not can be hard to swallow at times no matter how best-intended a person may be. Generic "just do it" and "why can't you just stop" or "you're not that bad anymore," I can also find unhelpful.

  • Mental Illness: 

    Severe anxiety disorder and depression.

    What can you do to support yourself?

    Medication is a huge taboo but it has helped my anxiety a lot. I also have psychotherapy which has helped me to get to know who I am. And I have CBT with my key worker on the NHS. You can self refer yourself to IAPT on the NHS. I have found journalling to be a really good outlet. Mindfulness helps me a lot when I feel extremely anxious. Accepting my illness has been huge because it has allowed me to prioritise what is best for me. Meditation prior to bed has helped a lot with my insomnia. I've also found yoga extremely helpful because it is the only way I can truly relax. And lastly, my dog Albert is my life saver, there is so much research around mental health and pets, and I really hope one day that the UK will see dogs as assistant dogs for MH problems

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    Unfortunately I have learnt that many people lack knowledge about MH and are scared of it. People need to read around the subject and ask questions. I would love for my friends and family to be more understanding of my mental health, and flexible around what I may need right now (i.e. meeting somewhere I feel comfortable, meeting somewhere I can bring my pup, asking questions and not shying away from it). Understanding my panic attack triggers in advance and helping me to manage it through breathing. And being open about suicidal thoughts without making you feel like you need to be locked away somewhere

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    Assuming that when you have a good day that everything is ok again. Telling you that you just need to smile and be positive. Not listening and making assumptions. Not making me feel comfortable so that I can open up and be honest about how I'm really feeling.

  • Mental Illness: 

     OCD and anxiety and self harm

    What can you do to support yourself?

    ​I can do breathing exercises from an app on my phone  to calm myself down and I can get myself out of situations that I know will not help me or will make me panic. I can explain my situation to others and give them ways to help. If I feel the need to self harm I tell someone and distract myself so I do not do it.

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    When I have a panic attack it helps when people don't talk to me or touch me but they stay nearby so that I know that they are there. It helps when they understand if you can't do something or if you can't go to something because it makes it a lot easier for me and doesn't make me feel as bad about not going or doing something.

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    It doesn't help when people touch me a lot or ask loads of questions when I have a panic attack or when people tell me that I don't need to do what I feel the need to do e.g. Tidy as much, tap things and wash my hands because it makes me feel worse than I already do and they don't understand how I feel.

  • Mental Illness: 

    Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder.

    What can you do to support yourself?

    To support myself, I use a recovery box (a great supplier being @the.recovery.shoebox.project), which has fidgets and photos in. It's like a first aid kit for my mind. I also follow recovery pages on Instagram to inspire me. I post my own pictures to try and help people do the same.

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    When I'm in a panic attack, the most helpful thing that others can do for me is counting deep breaths for me to help me concentrate on breathing rather than whatever im panicking about. When I'm in a low mood, I appreciate people reminding me to eat anything, even just one grape, and encouraging me to drink as I often forget

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    In a panic attack, the least helpful thing for me is hugs as being so close to people makes me hyperventilate even more, but I know gentle hugs can work for some people.

  • Mental Illness: 

    Anorexia nervosa, depression, anxiety, trichotillomania

    What can you do to support yourself?

    The things that have helped me the most are the creative things I've done inspired by recovery - I've made a posi scrapbook, a little book of big and small achievements, my recovery placemat for meal times - all of these I keep in my recovery box full of distractions and helpful things for when I need them
     Also I've met my best friends through my Instagram account where I share the ups and downs of my recovery - they are my biggest help and motivation and I don't think I'd be where I am without them

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

     Panic attacks - sometimes my sister gets me a glass of cold water and a straw to sip through, it's really calming!! Also if you have a pet I would recommend having them close by as it reduces my panic so significantly!! Also rather than focusing on the panic attack - putting the tv on or some music or being distracted by something else usually calms me down

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

     I'm really lucky as my family have been amazing with me - one thing I would say is that when you're panicking it can be a bit overwhelming when you're held tight as you feel like you can't breathe - although it's important to have people with you, it's unhelpful to have them too close so having a bit of space means I can usually calm myself down quicker
     Most of that applies to my other struggles too - so when I am struggling with food it helps the most when I can do it at my own pace and tick off the challenges as I go along rather than feeling forced and rushed to do it all at once as it can often end up sending me backwards. When I do choose to challenge something myself it feels like a much bigger achievement too!
     Hair pulling is difficult because it's something people don't know about and therefore talk about as much - I also feel really ashamed of it so I try to hide it from everyone. My family are really supportive and help most when they find little things to motivate me to not pull for an agreed length of time, i feel proud of myself if I do manage to go that time without it!

  • Mental Illness: 

    depression.

    What can you do to support yourself?

    I normally look for help when I need it and do self help such as reading and sleeping.

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    I normally text someone I trust or call them and get advice from them, talk to a pet, or write the problem down. Call childline or suicide prevention if needs be.

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    People crowding around me, trying to see what is happening. Maybe even leaving sometimes.

  • Mental Illness:

    severe anxiety, depression and high functioning Autism, emetephobia, health anxiety 

    What can you do to support yourself?

    I try to talk to my friends or mum. I've also made a lot of friends on twitter who understand what I'm going through and so I talk to them. I also get CBT. When none of them are available I usually put on YouTube, a film, Netflix or some music  and just lay down in my bed and try to relax. I also sometimes read a book and that really distracts you as your mind is almost in another world.

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    When I'm feeling anxious or on the verge of a panic attack it's helpful for my friends or family to just give me words of encouragement and let me rant my problems to them, it really helps when I rant to them if they talk it through with me and help me realise that it hopefully isnt big as I'm making it out to be. When I'm feeling really low it's helpful for my friends and family to tell the truth about how they feel

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

     Telling me that I'm being selfish, inconsiderate or lazy. Telling me that I'm going to get nowhere in life and that I won't get a job. Telling me that they are disappointed in me or that I will be punished for feeling the way I do or for not being able to do something. Basically just them having a go at me. Uninviting me from places and leaving me out.

  • Mental Illness:

    Eating disorder,  depression and anxiety

    What can you do to support yourself?

    I have gone to many hospitals and have had many therapists and take many medications to keep myself healthy and happy.

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    I go to my parents if I'm ever in a crisis, either needing to go to the hospital or just needing medication to calm myself down, sometimes I'll go to my siblings

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

     People will tell me my feelings are invalid, they'll tell me to stop self harming, or to just go eat. Some will try to pity me which makes me feel even more shitty. They'll tell me to calm down. They act like it's easy to do everything that I desperately want to do, like be confident again and be happy again and to stop cutting. 

  • Mental Illness: 

    anxiety, depression, anorexia

    What can you do to support yourself?

    if I feel bad I try to relax: reading a book, watch a tv show or movie, drink tea 

    If I can't stop thinking about stuff and want to hurt myself I tell my boyfriend and we'll call or see me if I'm with him

    To make myself eat, I try to be distracted while I'm eating and at least 30 minutes after

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

     My boyfriend and mother always hug me (my boyfriend doesn't let me go till I have calmed down) and try to search a solution for my problem 

    My boyfriend always "we" instead of "you", like "we can do this" "we are going to learn" "we can find a Solution", to show me I'm not alone

    I would say my boyfriend is my greatest aid 

    With hin I can talk about everything and don't have to be afraid of his reaction 

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    Getting mad, tell me to stop crying, say that I overact

  • Mental Illness:

    PTSD, depression, anxiety, and a skin picking disorder.

    What can you do to support yourself?

    I support myself with a wellness plan, therapy, and by taking care of/training my service dog which is a positive distraction!

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    I've found that during panic attacks/low mood, it's great when people tell me the absolute basics e.g my age,name, birthday, date, place, time etc and that I am safe of harm from others. That they will look after me and I can take as much time as I want out to be certain I am safe. They reassure me that I am loved and needed and they will never let me go. That they would miss me if I died.

    ​With skin picking and self harm, they tell me I'm precious, beautiful and don't deserve to damage my skin because of what's happened to me. They often carry a certain moisturiser/cream which soothes areas of damage. I'm told it's ok to relapse and they would never hate me if I were to relapse again

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

     I find it difficult to deal with my mental illnesses when people yell or get frustrated with me for not being 'healthy' or get angry if I have a panic attack and 'spoil the mood' . It doesn't help when people tell me to 'get over it' or 'move on' because my trauma is in the past and other people have it 'a lot worse'

  • Mental Illness:

    anxiety, depression, depersonalisation/derealisation, misophonia

    What can you do to support yourself?

    Acceptance. Sometimes the best way to deal with these conditions is to avoid forcing them away, it's not gonna happen. Anxiety is stubborn. Depression is stubborn. If you're gonna deal with a stubborn child, you need to accept that this is how they are right now but they'll calm down.

    Mental illness isn't permanent, there is ALWAYS a calm after the storm. Plus, the more you learn by accepting your mood, the more you learn about yourself and what helps you personally, just like learning to walk, it takes time, baby steps, and eventually it is all worth it because you can dance.

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    The love languages personality test helped me with this. It determines what form of love and support is most valuable to you, gift giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. For me, it's physical touch. I like hugs. If I'm panicking, I feel safe in the arms of someone who I love and trust. It keeps me grounded and reminds me that I am still alive and a person who is capable of love.

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    Trying to make me laugh, considering a lot of my friendships are based on a shared sense of humour, it feels really unsettling when someone tries to help by being funny, because in a situation where I am having a panic attack or a severe low mood episode, funny feels sort of insulting.

  • Mental Illness:

    anxiety disorder that causes me to have depressive episodes.

    What can you do to support yourself?

    Therapy is a good way to support yourself and get through hard times but still sometimes I feel like it's not helping at all. That's why I try to listen to what my mind and body are telling me. I can't help myself if I don't listen to myself first. Taking care of myself is very important. I'm usually very hard on myself and I struggle so much when I'm not being productive because of low mood but I'm slowly starting to allow myself to take a day off from life when I need it.

    What I'm trying to say is that we all really need to focus on the signs our brains and bodies are sending us. Our society wants us to go faster and faster but it's completely fine to take a moment to concentrate on ourselves in order to heal rather than being super productive and yet feel so bad with ourselves.

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    The best thing others can do for me is try to understand what I'm going through. When I have panic attacks it's very helpful if people don't put too much pressure on me (for example: asking what's going on, staring at me with a worried face, etc). My friends can maybe hold my hand and stay around me to create kind of a "safe zone" and protect me from other people's curiosity. About low mood my friends can't really do much.I think that the best thing they can do is understand that I'm not feeling good and tell me it's ok if I don't wanna go out that day.

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    Something that's really unhelpful is when people put pressure on me. That's the worst feeling ever cause I'm already feeling like I can't do anything in my life and I don't really need someone else to tell me "You're so lazy! You're always at home!" and so on. The worst thing someone could ever say to me is that I'm faking it and that it's not real, it's all in my head, and things like these. That's really unhelpful and it makes me feel even worse.

  • Mental Illness:

    anxiety/ panic disorder/  depression

    What can you do to support yourself?

    i choose to talk to one particular person that helps me so much every day, & i try and take good care of myself even when it's hard and near impossible & im going to see a therapist soon

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

     i just talk to someone when i'm having it and just say whatever i'm thinking and they just talk to me and tell me i'm ok and that i'm safe and talk me out of doing anything, and are just present and with me when i'm not doing so great

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    constantly asking whether i'm okay, and i dont know if this is a thing or if it's just me, but i get really anxious/ annoyed / upset/ whatever when they pity me and think that i'm not strong enough to handle certain things and give me that look of feeling sorry for me & treating me like i'm fragile ? also, they invalidate whatever i'm feeling sometimes in a way that they don't notice but i do, where they tell me so so many people suffer from it and it's nothing that serious or severe

  • Mental Illness:

    depression, social anxiety and dermatillomania , skin picking disorder 

    What can you do to support yourself?

    Sometimes I listen to music or talk to some people I trust. But can't help that self harm helps me the most. !If you can relate please tell about it to professionals or just your family or friends!

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    Listen to me. Having love around you is important

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

     To me personally getting angry/disappointed if I pick my face or self harm. If someone opens up to you about deep/sad stuff, for example about  depression, take it seriously. Don't yell, try to understand person's problems

  • Mental Illness:

    :depression and anxiety and schizophrenia

    What can you do to support yourself?

    I take long walks and listen to music. I also write down how I feel

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    when I'm having an attack of any kind or I'm depressed, I prefer to be alone. I clear my head then I'm always open to a hug

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    a lot of people crowd me or try to talk me through my attacks which only make it worse

  • Mental Illness:

    OCD + Anxiety 

    What can you do to support yourself?

    N/A

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    OCD- when I'm having a 'meltdown' if someone talks slowly or sorts out what I'm worrying about e.g. Hair on the floor (even a tiny peice) helping me to walk past it and not get stressed that it's there! Mainly in a clam and soothing way or something to distract me Such as calm music in a calming playlist or talking about something completely different!

     

    Anxiety/ I like to be left alone in quite so when it's noisy my head goes crazy! So people allowing me to listen to music whils

    Whilst I am with them and not eating annoyed, or walking out of the situation with me. Encouragement mainly helps me to get through it

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    N/a

  • Mental Illness:

    anxiety, depression, depersonalisation/derealisation, misophonia

    What can you do to support yourself?

    Acceptance. Sometimes the best way to deal with these conditions is to avoid forcing them away, it's not gonna happen. Anxiety is stubborn. Depression is stubborn. If you're gonna deal with a stubborn child, you need to accept that this is how they are right now but they'll calm down.

    Mental illness isn't permanent, there is ALWAYS a calm after the storm. Plus, the more you learn by accepting your mood, the more you learn about yourself and what helps you personally, just like learning to walk, it takes time, baby steps, and eventually it is all worth it because you can dance.

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    The love languages personality test helped me with this. It determines what form of love and support is most valuable to you, gift giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. For me, it's physical touch. I like hugs. If I'm panicking, I feel safe in the arms of someone who I love and trust. It keeps me grounded and reminds me that I am still alive and a person who is capable of love.

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    Trying to make me laugh, considering a lot of my friendships are based on a shared sense of humour, it feels really unsettling when someone tries to help by being funny, because in a situation where I am having a panic attack or a severe low mood episode, funny feels sort of insulting.

  • Mental Illness:

    OCD and ADHD

    What can you do to support yourself?

    n/a

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    I think the best thing that people can do to help me if I am feeling stressed is just to talk to me about something random or funny and not really try to even talk about the thing that is stressing me just be there and normally if I can just talk about something that gets my mind off things then I can calm down a bit. When I am feeling low it depends how low I am. If I am only half low then I also just go and talk to someone about random stuff or play a game or

    Just do something fun to get my mind off of it. If I am in my really low mood then I still don't really know what is good to do because if people try to talk to me I get easily irritated and sometimes snap out or they might say something that for no reason makes me really upset. I think the best thing is to go outside and be with someone who I don't mind if they see me cry so I know I am safe to cry if I need to and just do my own thing but with someone else there and outside. Or I might do

    Sport or music but usually when I am feeling really low I don't have enough motivation to do them but when I do it usually lifts me up

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    Ok well, don't tell me that it is going to be ok or that I am fine, don't try and convince me that the thing I am worrying about isn't really that bad, when I am low don't carry on trying to talk to me if it looks like I am annoyed at you, don't disturb me if I am doing my own thing when low. I don't really know any others to be honest but hopefully this helps

  • Mental Illness:

    PTSD, PMDD, and an adjustment disorder

    What can you do to support yourself?

    Opening up to people has helped me the most as keeping it all inside made it worse. Additionally, practicing grounding whenever triggers came around helped

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    Be patient and understanding and help me ground myself by having me identify things in the room to help bring me back to the present if I'm triggered

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    Pushing me to "get over it" "move on" or just "Forget about it" and making it seem like it's my fault in any way

  • Mental Illness:

    Anorexia nervosa. I also struggle with low mood and intrusive thoughts

    What can you do to support yourself?

    I find it really hard to support myself as part of the illness is actually the competitiveness and the strive to keep wanting to be "ill" which makes things really difficult. I find it hard to support myself but I know distractions really help. I guess I help myself by reaching out to others for help if I can't do it myself

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    Things that help is sometimes litterally someone telling me that they're there for me and that the feeling will pass. Sometimes I just need a shoulder to cry on or someone to shout at about things. And then them suggesting things for me to do to distract or slowly calm me down once I've let it all out like listening to music or a meditation or painting.

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    Something that doesn't really help is things like "oh it's not that scary" or trying to put it into perspective or talk me out of thinking a certain way. Sometimes I just need a good cry and a shout then I can get on with it. I just want someone to listen to me and appreciate why I'm upset and appreciate I find something hard rather then trying to fix how I'm feeling I just find talking about it can help

  • Mental Illness:

    depression, anxiety, and an unspecified eating disorder. 

    What can you do to support yourself?

    I don't really do much to support myself but one thing I find helpful is making something I call a Happy Box. It's full of nice letters and pictures that make me happy when I'm down and shows that other support me even when I don't.

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    The main thing I found helpful that people can do is just be there to comfort me. Most of the things I battle with I keep inside so no one really knows exactly what I'm upset about at the time.

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    One thing that recently happened was someone yelling at me after I self harmed. When someone yells or complains about what happened usually makes me feel uneasy and I shut down

  • Mental Illness:

     depression and anxiety

    What can you do to support yourself?

    I can surround myself with people who care and love me for who I am. I can try put my health first 

    What can others do to support you when you're struggling?

    I think the little things help. Like a hug, or a shoulder to cry on. someone who listens and understands and doesn't judge me for it 

    .What things do others do which is unhelpful to you at this time?

    Em I've been getting a lot of support from my family and friends which is unbelievable and I'm so grateful for it. I think when people don't understand your illness fully that's hard.

Join our Newsletter

© 2019 The Positive Page