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What is the best way of supporting someone with a mental health problem?

Mental illness impacts all Canadians at some time, whether through a family member, friend or colleague. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, in any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness, and by age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.

There is no simple way of knowing if someone you care about is struggling with their mental health. There are a number of ways you can provide support to someone who may be struggling. Below, we've included a few tips from the UK Mental Health Foundation for supporting those you care about:


1. Strategies for talking about mental health

Talking to someone is often the first step to take when you know they're going through a hard time.

Set time aside with minimal distractions and create an open and non-judgmental space to discuss well-being. If it seems appropriate, offer your help in seeking additional support, such as with a healthcare professional or our service.

2. Responding to a crisis

This can manifest in situations such as breaking down in tears, experiencing difficulty breathing, or feelings of suicidal.

If this is something a loved one is experiencing, concentrate on their needs in that moment and ask them what would help. Remain calm and avoid confrontation, and focus on acknowledging how their symptoms are making them feel.

3. Focus on getting help early

Getting help early is an important part of treating mental illness. Family and friends can be important advocates to help loved ones overcome the early stages.

4. Recognizing your own limits

Supporting someone struggling with mental illness can be tiring. It is important to ensure you are engaging in activities to take care of your own mental health throughout the process. If you ever need someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out to us at (613)-544-1771.

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