Breaking the Stigma: On Supporting Someone Through Mental Illness

This extract is taken from my interview with ‘Breaking the Stigma‘ – “a website for all that aims to target mental illness and support people in need”:

How do you suggest one can provide helpful support to someone struggling with mental health problems?

Firstly, just try and talk to them. Some people might be resistant to opening up a discussion at first but as long as you are clear that you are there to listen and not judge, it can be incredibly helpful for them.

Do not force someone into something they do not want to do just because you feel that it is best for them. Each individual is different and his or her way of dealing will also be very different. The important thing is to listen and be patient.


What would you say are the best things to do for someone distressed or on the verge of a panic attack?

First of all, take the person to somewhere quiet if you are in public or a loud environment.

Try to help them slow down their breathing – not until they are breathing steadily should you ask any questions (calmly, of course).

It is easy to get increasingly upset if you are mid-panic attack and having someone there to calm you down first can be very useful!

What is something you wish people would say to you if you told them you are ill?

“Let me know if I can help”

Read more of my interview with ‘Breaking the Stigma’: (coming soon)

If you are suffering with mental illness, what is something you wish others would say to you, if you told them? How do you wish to be supported?

8 thoughts on “Breaking the Stigma: On Supporting Someone Through Mental Illness

    1. Yes, that approach can be hugely helpful. I think for some, it can be even harder to just listen than offload advice, partly because one might feel awkward or as though they aren’t doing enough to help. If we were all more accustomed to having these conversations, I suppose this wouldn’t come into play as much and we might be able to better support each other through listening.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Recently I had a strong response to the way someone was talking in a meeting—both to what they were saying and to their tone and facial expressions—and when I told a friend about it she said “So that was triggering for you then.” It was in a respectful way, simply recognizing the truth of it without judgment. Sometimes I think I judge myself for the trauma responses I’m still working through more than my friends do. Good friends are walking the road with me, knowing there are some fat potholes along the way!


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