The best thing you can do is talk to people you trust about how you’re feeling and ask for help when you need it.
Those of us who have experienced a mental health problem know it can be difficult talking to people about your experiences and concerns about your mental health. And sometimes the people we think or expect to be supportive are not, or are unsure about what you need. Acknowledging you are experiencing a mental health problem can be very scary, and it can be hard to ask for help because you feel ashamed and want to hide your distress.
So it’s important to know that if you are having worries, distressing feelings or frightening experiences it can really help to get support and information about what you can do for yourself, and on what is helpful for friends, family and others to do. When they understand as much as possible about what you are experiencing, it can make it easier for them to find out what they can do to support you.
We understand there can be barriers to talking to people, for example:
All this can be very upsetting. So it’s really important to remember that it’s not your fault that you are experiencing a mental illness.
Here are some practical ways to assist with your recovery, or someone else’s.
People with experience of mental illness have found the following strategies to be useful:
Family/whānau and close friends have found the following strategies to be useful:
Having a child or teenager with a mental illness is distressing for parents; the stress, worry and concern involved in supporting their distressed child or teenager can leave parents with little time or energy for all their other commitments and responsibilities. While there will be times when it’s necessary to focus all your energy on the child, keeping a healthy family environment is equally important. The strategies listed above are just as relevant for parents of children experiencing a mental illness as they are for adults.
You are your child’s best advocate at school and in dealing with health professionals because you know your child best. Help teachers and health professionals understand your child, so the best solution can be worked out for them. Do not give up.
For many conditions it’s important that children are encouraged to develop and learn coping behaviours and skills, and parents play a key role to help them learn and practise these new skills.Your doctor should be able to suggest many ways to ensure your child gets the help and support they need to navigate their childhood and teenage years.
Many people find that having a written plan is helpful. You can call it a wellness or wellbeing plan, or whatever you choose. The value of having your own personalised plan developed by you and your doctor, or mental health professional, and perhaps with the help of family and/or any key support person, is that it can help you through difficult times by being a reminder of your wishes.
Your plan, which you write yourself, lists all your warning signs and symptoms (things that 'trigger' your periods of difficulty), and it reminds you what you have decided to do and who you will tell if you are told you need extra treatment. These simple steps will help make sure you get the help and support you need during difficult times.
If you are worried that you might hurt yourself or are having suicidal thoughts, it’s really important that you seek help immediately.