When a friend tries to talk to you about depression, anxiety, or any other mental health problem, it can be difficult to know how to react. We have come a long way, but admitting that you are struggling with mental health issues remains a stigma. If your friend talks to you, he is taking a big step forward.

Writer Anne Thériault told Flare.com what it was like to tell her friends and family that she had been admitted to a psychiatric ward for suicidal ideation. Although Thériault thinks she has learned to talk about her mental health, she says she discovered that other people often do not know how to react. Here are some of his suggestions.

Especially listen

It is difficult to hear that someone who matters to you is suffering. The impetus is to rush and try to "fix" everything. But your friend talks to you because he needs to talk. Unless they ask for help directly, they probably do not want to listen to you and be compassionate. Thériault says that unsolicited advice is one of the worst answers you can have:

Do not ask them if they have seen a doctor. Do not tell them to try a therapy. Do not suggest medications, yoga or long baths. I guarantee you that your friend has already considered many of these things; you are certainly not the first person to ask if they have tried to reduce their anxiety.

If in doubt, agree and listen more.

Take your tone from them

Humor is often used as a defense mechanism and it sometimes happens that someone wants to joke about his depression. if they do not joke, you should not be either. The way someone introduces the subject tells you a lot about how she wants you to discuss it with her. Having myself been depressed, I joke sometimes, but if someone tried to make a joke at my expense in a dark moment, it would not have gone well.

Offer specific help

This is often related to bereavement, illness or other extreme circumstances that could leave a person unfit – do not say "let me know if you need anything".

What if I ask too much, or something they do not want to give? Or, sometimes, if I'm really overwhelmed, I know I need something but I can not find the words to say what it is.

Suggesting specific suggestions, such as going out for coffee or ordering food to someone, simply allows them to say yes or no; Depression and anxiety make it difficult to think and identify your needs. Someone who offers simple ideas helps a lot in decision making.

Everyone is different

These are initial steps in knowing how to talk to a friend who talks about their mental health; Obviously, everyone will be different and have different needs. To support yourself, start by reminding yourself not to focus, your feelings or your ideas on what they should do. Take from there.

How * really * talk about mental health | burst