Tips For Managing The Holiday Blues

Many people can experience feelings of anxiety or depression during the holiday season. People who already live with a mental health condition should take extra care to tend to their overall health and wellness during this time.

Extra stress, unrealistic expectations or even sentimental memories that accompany the season can be a catalyst for the holiday blues. Some can be at risk for feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension and a sense of loss.

A lot of seasonal factors can trigger the holiday blues such as, less sunlight, changes in your diet or routine, alcohol at parties, over-commercialization or the inability to be with friends or family. These are all factors that can seriously affect your mood.

However, there are certain things you can do to help avoid the holiday blues. Ken Duckworth, M.D., NAMI’s medical director, shares advice for managing your health—both mental and physical—during the holiday season in this video.

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By Laura Greenstein

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2015/Tips-for-Managing-the-Holiday-Blues

How To Encourage Someone To See A Therapist

It’s hard to watch someone you care about struggle with their mental health. It’s even worse when you know they could benefit from professional help. Approaching an individual and encouraging them to seek therapy can be a tricky situation. If done the wrong way, you could aggravate the person or turn them against the idea entirely. However, there is an effective way to have this conversation.

Here are some steps you can take to tell your loved one about the benefits of seeking therapy.

Show Support

Misconception about mental health and therapy has intensified stigma in society. Your loved one may be awarethat they need help, but may be afraid to seek it if they think you will judge or treat them differently. Therefore, it is essential to use non-stigmatizing language when talking with them about their mental health. Assure them that you will support them through the therapy process.

Demi Lovato is one of the most vocal celebrities about her mental health issues. She mentioned on multiple occasions how important it was for her to have people around that really care about her wellbeing. She credits her support group for being able to go through everyday life. Demi asks for advice from her loved ones and asks them to let her know when they feel something’s off: “So whether it’s with my management team or with my friends, every choice that I make, I run by people. And that’s what’s really helped me—vocalizing what you need.”

Be Sensitive To Timing And Place

Talking to someone about mental health requires emotional sensitivity as well as physical sensitivity. The “where” and “how” the topic is presented may determine how a person reacts to your suggestions. Your loved one may not be as bold as Kesha when she shared her condition and struggles with the world while receiving an award.

Don’t start this delicate conversation in front of other people or where others can hear as this may cause discomfort. And avoid grouping up in an intervention-style conversation as people do on TV shows. Allow the person struggling to decide whether they want others to know. This way, they feel respected and in control of their own treatment.

Also: Avoid talking to someone when they are in a bad mood, tired, have tight deadlines at work or if they’re doing something important. They may dismiss you or disregard the weight of the topic. Approach the person when they’re in a good mood, relaxed and undistracted. Try as much as possible to keep the conversation private, friendly and relaxed.

Prepare For Resistance

Not all people who hear about therapy will be willing to try it out. You need to be prepared to make your case if your loved one resists your suggestion. Here are some ideas that you can use to highlight the importance of therapy:

  • Try to use your relationship as leverage, in a loving way. Whether you’re their sibling, friend, spouse or relative, tell them how important your relationship with them is to you. And how it could benefit from their seeking therapy. However, avoid giving an ultimatum as it can cause emotional distress.
  • Name their admirable qualities. It’s easier to appeal to someone by pointing out what you like about them. When you point out someone’s positive qualities, they will be motivated to take the necessary steps to better themselves even further.
  • Explain specific areas of problematic behavior. Most people who refuse therapy may claim that they don’t have a problem. By pointing out specific problems without coming off as judgmental, you can help them see the need for seeking professional help.

Offer To Help

You can try to embolden someone to go to therapy, but unless you are willing to offer meaningful support, it’s not going to encourage them. Some people do not know where to start when seeking help. Guide them in finding a suitable therapist in the area, depending on their preferences. You can contact offices on their behalf or research various professionals, their credibility and reviews.

Some people are scared of seeing a therapist alone or signing up for group therapy. Offer to go with them until they’re comfortable. You can sit in the waiting room during their first few sessions. Make sure to assure them that you won’t ask prying questions about the counseling unless they want to share.

Seeking therapy is one of the best steps that a person with a mental health condition can take. However, it’s an effort that requires great strength and courage. Share your suggestions as openly as possible and leave them to make the decision that best suits their needs. Above all things, assure them of your continued love and support throughout the process.

By Mike Jones

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2017/How-to-Encourage-Someone-to-See-a-Therapist

 

Navigating the Holidays

The holidays can be stressful for someone who is struggling with an eating disorder. We get it. A lot happens this time of year—extra family time, busy schedules, social gatherings—and most of it centers on food.

To help you prepare for the upcoming holidays, our staff has come up with some tips and words of encouragement. Add any or all of them to your recovery tool box for Thanksgiving and other upcoming holiday events.

  • Continue doing what works for you despite the fact that your schedule may change, stress may increase, and time may be short.
  • Remember: it’s progress, not perfection.
  • Have a plan for food and skills to use during the day.
  • Keep practicing self-care by feeding yourself, getting enough water, moving when/if/how it makes sense for your body, resting when you need to, and connecting with others.
  • All foods fit, and your body knows how to use them.
  • Allow yourself to ask for more support from others you trust, whether that be family, friends, or treatment team members.
  • Remember that although it may seem like everyone is sharing happy memories with their loved ones, not everyone is and it’s okay since that is often real life. Stay away from social media if it allows you to have a more realistic picture of the world.
  • Consider what would make you enjoy the holiday season more, whether that be doing something traditional, such as baking or going to church, or something less traditional, such as getting a pedicure or volunteering. Make the holiday season your season, not something that you think it should be.

Wishing you all a happy holiday season!

Holiday Drinking: What Is Normal?

I recently read an interesting article about a Caron Treatment Centers study titled “Many Americans Oblivious to What High-Risk Drinking Looks Like.” Dr. Harris Stratyner was quoted as saying “Alcohol is still the number one cause of damaging behavior at holiday celebrations throughout the U.S”. The information in this article got me thinking… are the holidays a time and excuse for people to abuse alcohol and what are the consequences? The Caron Treatment Centers study found that even non-alcoholics are over-imbibing at these events and experiencing many negative effects such as:

  • 50% saw a co-worker/supervisor share inappropriate personal details about themselves or other colleagues
  • 45% saw a co-worker/supervisor flirting with another colleague
  • 43% saw a co-worker/supervisor drive even though he or she was drunk
  • 35% saw a co-worker/supervisor using excessive profanity
  • 30% saw a co-worker/supervisor argue, be abusive or engage in sexual activity
  • 60% of those who attend family holiday parties also reported that a family member behaved inappropriately after drinking too much alcohol. One respondent shared that alcohol prompted “a knock out drag out fist fight” and another spoke of “emotionally abusive behavior” during a family holiday party. Others said relatives wanted to drive even though they were drunk

I don’t want to be a “buzz kill” but my question is, are we having fun yet?  In Pete Hamill’s book A Drinking Life his final drink before getting sober was at a New Year’s Eve party—and he writes: “But once more, I felt as if I were shooting the scene with a camera from across the bar…It was New Year’s Eve. We were supposed to be having a good time.  Look: there were balloons. There were funny hats. There were noise makers. Charlie, bring me a vodka and tonic, will you please?…I stared into my glass, at the melting ice and vodka-logged lime. And I said to myself, I am never going to do this again.  I finished my drink. It was the last one I ever had.” Hamill took a moment to step back from the festive scene, observed the drunken and insincere behavior and concluded that it felt meaningless.  Alcohol is such an integral part of holiday events and this can be a challenge particularly for those who are sober and especially for those in early sobriety.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) low-risk drinking is defined as no more than four drinks per sitting and not more than 14 per week for men and no more than three drinks per sitting and no more than 7 per week for women.

The holidays are notoriously an emotionally “loaded” time for many people as well as a joyous time.  They can be especially challenging for those who are sober or choosing not to drink.  However, it is possible to be truly present for these holiday events without drinking or abusing alcohol by learning coping skills to tolerate or set limits with more challenging work and social engagements:

• Have an escape plan by bringing your own vehicle or figure out the available public transportation near the holiday event that will enable you to leave if you are feeling tempted to drink or uncomfortable.
• Ask another sober person to be “on call” for you to check in with during the event for additional support.
• Let someone whom you trust at the holiday event know that you may need additional support during this occasion or time of year.
• Find a tasty non-alcoholic beverage you can drink that will give you something to hold and may prevent people from offering you an alcoholic drink.
• Come up with a standard response as to why you are not drinking that may vary depending on the type of holiday event and if you want those in attendance to know you are sober: “I don’t drink anymore,” “I am not drinking tonight,” “I am on medication and cannot have alcohol,” “I am the designated driver tonight,” etc.
• Be choosy about the holiday events that you attend and avoid “people pleasing” by saying “yes” to events that you don’t need to nor don’t want to be at.
• Take care of yourself prior to these events: get enough sleep, eat regularly, exercise, relax, meditate, etc.
• Find new holiday activities and traditions that you may never have tried in the past which do not involve drinking alcohol (volunteer at a soup kitchen, go ice skating, have a sober get-together and gift exchange, see a movie, take a trip, etc.)
• Remember to create structure for yourself if you have time off (volunteer, exercise, make plans, got to mutual-help group meetings, therapy, etc.).
• Work extra hours if needed in order to distract yourself.
• Learn to say “no” if you do not want to attend an event.
• Put your sobriety first and realize that others may not understand what this entails, but that it is your number one priority.
• “Just say no” to rum cake!
• Attend extra mutual-help group meetings during this season (i.e., A.A. has “alcathons” that involve 24 hours of meetings, food, socializing at designated locations on Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Contact your local A.A. Intergroup for more information.
• Be honest with loved ones if you are having a hard time and let them know how to support you.
• Remember that “this too shall pass” and there is life after the holidays.
• No matter how you are feeling, you do not have to drink!

For more resources and information about high-functioning alcoholics, visit www.highfunctioningalcoholic.com

By Sarah A Benton MS, LMHC, LPC

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-high-functioning-alcoholic/201311/holiday-drinking-what-is-normal

The Power Of Pet Therapy

I remember when I was seven, my Great-Uncle Benji said to my parents, “Allison needs a dog.” It was at that time, my life changed. I was a very quiet, reserved kid, but dogs brought me out of my shell. They were with me during good times, painful times and major life events—and loved me no matter how I reacted to these situations. They remained stable forces in my life, even during the darkest turmoil.

Nowadays, I work with clients who live with depression, anxiety and addictions, and they don’t always feel like there is hope. It’s hard for them to see light in the midst of their darkness, and peace seems so far away. But when I use my dogs during pet therapy visits, I see how animals brighten up a person’s mood, even if it’s for a short time. That moment allows a small trickle of light into that person’s heart, which may not have been there before.

During one session in particular, a client asked if she could get on the floor because she wanted to talk to my therapy dog about something “very important.” She buried her head into my dog’s fur and talked about the horrible week she had endured. Stroking my dog’s fur, my client was overcome with a sense of calm in a way I could not have accomplished by merely talking with her. No judgments, no expectations—just a furry hug.

When we’re facing despair, loneliness, chronic health issues, depression, addictions, or anything beyond our ability to cope, a pet can help ease the pain. He or she can give us a reason to get out of our thoughts to focus on a sense of purpose. The relationship we have with our pets is real and symbiotic—what I give to my pets comes back to me in ways that can’t be measured.

Research shows the benefits of pet therapy (in fact, its first known use dates back to the 9th century!). Boris Levinson was the first clinician to truly introduce the value of animals in a therapeutic environment. In the 1960s, Levinson reported that having his dog present at talk therapy sessions led to increased communication, increased self-esteem and increased willingness to disclose difficult experiences. Ever since, people have been turning to pets for comfort and support during periods of emotional turmoil. Hugging and speaking with a pet who won’t judge you for your feelings or thoughts is cathartic and helps people get through rough times. Pets also reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression, giving people a reason to get up in the morning. Other benefits are unconditional love, acceptance, a “buddy” that encourages physical activity, which leads to healthier lifestyles.

If you’re unable to own a pet, there are many ways to reap the benefits of a pet relationship. Volunteering at a local shelter or helping rescue groups or pet therapy organizations such as Pet Partners (a national organization that promotes positive human-animal interactions) are ways to save pets’ lives, and possibly your own.

By Allison White, ACSW, LCSW, CCDP-D

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2016/The-Power-of-Pet-Therapy

PTSD And Trauma: Not Just For Veterans

When we think about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s typically in the context of active duty service members and veterans—for good reason. Dangerous and potentially traumatic situations are common occurrences in the context of military service. However, it’s important to note that PTSD is not exclusive to this type of trauma.

In the U.S., about eight million people experience PTSD. While any traumatic experience can lead to PTSD, there are a few types of trauma that are the most common. Examples include sexual assault/abuse, natural disasters, accidents/injuries to self or other, or being in a life-threatening situation. When you consider these examples, it’s understandable why people would associate PTSD most frequently with military service members. However, this assumption can be problematic.

If people believe that only service members and veterans can develop PTSD, the recognition of symptoms and treatment can be delayed. The fact is: Anyone can develop PTSD when they experience or witness a traumatic event—adult or child, man or woman. Anyone.

How Do You Know If You Have PTSD?

About 50% of all people will go through at least one traumatic experience in their lifetime. But not everyone will develop PTSD. In fact, the majority won’t. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between the typical symptoms that follow a traumatic event and when it has reached the point that a condition like PTSD has developed.

It’s common for people who experience trauma to have nightmares or flashbacks for a few weeks and then gradually improve. It’s when those symptoms don’t improve and begin to interfere with a person’s life that a mental health evaluation should be considered. A person who experiences the following intense symptoms for more than a month may have PTSD:

  • At least one “re-experiencing” symptom (flashbacks, bad dreams, frightening thoughts)
  • At least one avoidance symptom (avoiding thoughts, feeling, places, objects or events related to the traumatic experience)
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms (easily startled, feeling tense, difficulty sleeping, outbursts of anger)
  • At least two cognition and mood symptoms (difficulty remembering details of the traumatic experience, negative thoughts, distorted feelings, loss of interest)

It’s important to note that PTSD-related symptoms may not occur immediately after the traumatic event; they may not surface until weeks or months afterwards. Another major, key difference between typical reactions and PTSD is that while most will remember the fear they felt during trauma, PTSD can cause a person to actually feel as if they are reliving that fear.

What Should You Do After Trauma?

If a person feels supported by friends and family after a traumatic event, it can reduce the risk of developing symptoms of PTSD. It can also be helpful for a person to join a support group, so they can share their thoughts, fears and questions with other people who have also experienced trauma. Using healthy, positive coping strategies—such as exercise, mediation or playing an instrument—can also be helpful.

If symptoms persist, it’s essential to seek treatment. Those with PTSD typically respond better to structured therapies such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – helps a person replace their negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EDMR) – exposes a person to traumatic memories with varying stimuli, such as eye movements
  • Exposure therapy – helps a person safely face their fears so they can learn to cope with them
  • Imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) – is a new treatment for reducing the intensity and frequency of nightmares

If you or someone you know is having a difficult time coping with trauma, these interventions can make a huge difference. PTSD is treatable. It’s more effective if treated early, but it’s never too late to get treatment no matter how long ago the trauma occurred.

Trauma is a part of life—it affects most people at some point. But that doesn’t mean it’s a mundane experience that can be ignored or brushed off. The key is to check-in on symptoms and seek care from a mental health professional if they persist.

Whether you’re a military service member, veteran, salesperson or elementary school student, PTSD has the potential to develop in any of us. And if it does, please know that help is available. No one should face PTSD alone.

Laura Greenstein is communications coordinator.

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2017/PTSD-and-Trauma-Not-Just-for-Veterans

Exercise For Mental Health: 8 Keys To Get And Stay Moving

Mental illness has deeply impacted my life. I have experienced the flooding of anxiety and the drowning of depression. I have waged, and won, several battles with postpartum depression and been through loss and grief. I know how painful it can be to find oneself in the throes of mental illness and how helpless it can feel when a loved one is caught in its grasp. As a clinical psychologist, I have witnessed the sting of mental illness and the struggle to find healing. People come desperate to learn the tools that can break the chains of mental and emotional symptoms. Too often, individuals and their friends and family are ready to seek and find help, only to find barriers halting their progress.

Barriers To Mental Illness Treatment

An astonishing 60% of American adults, and almost half of children ages 8–15, receive no treatment for their mental illness diagnoses. Though valid treatments—like mental health medications and psychotherapy—are available, too many people encounter barriers to treatment. This occurs for many reasons, but the most common are the stigma of mental illness and its treatments, like medication and therapy; the side effects  of medication treatments; and the cost  of long-term therapy or medical interventions.

Benefits Of Exercise For Mental Health

Exercise has been researched and validated for treating a variety of mental issues and mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, addictions, grief, relationship problems, dementia and personality disorders. Additionally, exercise alleviates such conditions as bad moods, stress, chronic pain and chronic illnesses.

Exercise is not only free from negative stigma, it is safe when done appropriately, with a doctor’s approval. Any side effects are ultimately positive, and even better, exercise is free of charge, easy to access and available for everyone. Exercise can be used as a stand-alone treatment for some mild-to-moderate conditions or, more effectively, in conjunction with other mental health treatments.

Like medicine in the treatment of mental illness, exercise can increase levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. It improves and normalizes neurotransmitter levels, which ultimately helps us feel mentally healthy. Other important benefits include enhanced mood and energy; reduced stress; deeper relaxation; improved mental clarity, learning, insight, memory and cognitive functioning; enhanced intuition, creativity, assertiveness and enthusiasm for life; and improved social health and relationships, higher self-esteem and increased spiritual connection.

8 Keys To Mental Health Through Exercise

If exercise is so good for physical and mental health, why aren’t more of us exercising for mental health? Why aren’t medical and mental health practitioners not only recommending exercise but also showing us how to safely start and continue exercising for mental health? The following overview of my 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise can help you, your loved ones and those who provide medical and mental health care tackle underlying beliefs about exercise, change exercise-related thinking, overcome barriers and implement an effective exercise program.

1. Heal Your Mind and Body with Exercise

If you struggle with a particular mental illness, exercise has specific abilities to help you, too. From calming the anxious mind to regulating mood swings in bipolar disorder, exercise may be the best thing we can do for mental, physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. To receive the benefits of exercise, however, we must first believe that exercise can heal body, mind and soul.

2. Improve Your Self-Esteem with Exercise

Exercise improves self-esteem, which is associated with greater mental health. Exercise has also been shown to increase self-confidence, self-efficacy, self-acceptance and self-concept. When we exercise, we feel more loving, positive and confident.

3. Exercise as a Family

Family has a big influence on how we perceive exercise and mental health. Family beliefs can either promote or impair mental health. Exercising as a family not only gets the entire family moving to reap the benefits of exercise but also models healthy beliefs about physical activity and improves family relationships.

4. Get Motivated

Motivation, or rather lack of it, is probably the biggest block to exercise for mental health. We know we should exercise. We may even want to exercise, but we often can’t make ourselves do it. Remember that motivation is a skill that can be learned and improved upon.

5. Change How You Think about Exercise

What thoughts do you have about exercise? What promotes physical activity? What holds you back? As we identify these thoughts, we can choose to change them. One tool for this is called a “thought record.” As we list our thoughts and feelings about exercise on a thought record, we have the power to question and change our thoughts. We can put new, healthier thoughts into our brains—thoughts like, “I know if I go for a walk, I will feel more energized and less depressed.”

6. Overcome Roadblocks

While exercising can be physically challenging, exercise is just as much, or even more, about mental fortitude. What are your biggest roadblocks to exercise? If you look carefully, you’ll see that almost all of them have to do with mental perceptions and beliefs. Lack of time or energy? Not being able to get to the gym? Perhaps you face the challenge of having young children, or a job that’s taking over your life. Whatever the roadblocks, you can overcome them as you acknowledge and challenge them.

7. Get FITT—Physically and Mentally

To stay with exercise for mental health, you must first build mental fortitude. That’s why I’ve waited until Key 7 to discuss how to set up an exercise program. The FITT Principle shows how. FITT stands for Frequency (how often you exercise), Intensity (how hard you exercise), Type (of exercise you’re doing) and Time (how long you exercise). Through FITT, you can create a tailored program for your unique needs.

8. Implement Your Vision and Flourish

Finally, we need a long-term vision of health and wellness to keep exercising for mental health for the rest of our lives. Exercise is beneficial at all ages and stages; as we look to the future, we find that by exercising for our mental health, we can help overcome mental illness and become who we are meant to be. We will flourish.

Christina G. Hibbert, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist specializing in women’s mental health, motherhood, grief/loss, selfesteem and personal growth. She is the author of This Is How We Grow, Who Am I Without You?  and 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise , and host of the weekly series “Motherhood” on WebTalkRadio.net. For more on this topic, visit www. DrChristinaHibbert.com and www.Exercise4MentalHealth.com.

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/May-2016/Exercise-for-Mental-Health-8-Keys-to-Get-and-Stay

Opening Up To Others About Your Mental Health

Have you ever had a conversation with someone that tempted you to open up about something incredibly personal, but you hesitated due to the fear of that person’s reaction? Were you worried that telling them would alter their perception of you? Many people experience this feeling as they attempt to determine whether or not to be forthright about their symptoms and their struggle.

If you are considering opening up about your mental health condition, here are some tips.

Deciding Whether You Should Say Anything

Before telling someone, be certain that the decision is right for you. Making a list such as the following can help you determine if the pros outweigh the cons.

Pros:

• The person may be supportive and encouraging.

• The person can help me find the treatment that I need.

• I may gain someone in my life to talk to about what I’m going through.

• I may have a person in my life who can look out for me.

• If a crisis were to happen, I would have someone to call.

Cons:

• The person may be uncomfortable around me after I tell them.

• The person may not want to associate with me after I tell them.

• The person may tell other people that I know, and I could be stigmatized.

Dr. Patrick Corrigan, principal investigator of the Chicago Consortium for Stigma Research and Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, leads the Honest, Open, Proud program, which offers advice for talking about mental health conditions. He encourages people to open up about their mental health condition but to do so in a safe way. “Be a bit conservative about the process,” he says. “Once you’re out, it’s hard to go back in, but the important thing is that the majority of people who come out and tell their story feel more empowered.”

Also consider the potential benefits of telling someone. Perhaps being open would help your loved ones understand why you can’t always spend time with them, or you might ease their concerns by making them more aware of what’s going on in your life. Or maybe you need special accommodations at work or elsewhere. To learn more about accommodations at work, visit www.nami.org/succeeding-at-work

Deciding Whom to Tell

Once you feel confident in your decision to share, you should consider how the person you confide in might react. Think about what kind of relationship you have and whether it’s built on trust. If you still have concerns, try a test conversation. Mention a book or movie that includes mental illness and ask their opinion about it in a context that doesn’t involve you.

Deciding When You Should Tell

Once you feel comfortable about confiding in someone, start to think about when to tell them. It may be important to tell someone to receive help and support before you reach a point of crisis. That way you have a calm environment in which to be open and learn who in your life is most willing and able to help if you need support.

Initiating the Conversation

You have a few different options for telling someone about your mental health. Perhaps scariest is to come out with it without setting up the conversation because you might catch the person off-guard. Another option would be to let the person know in advance that you want to talk about something significant so they can prepare for a serious conversation. Once you have told them that you live with a mental health condition and experience certain symptoms because of it, use examples to help them understand what it’s like. For example, “Everything I do every day, even something simple like taking a shower, is exponentially harder when my symptoms are more serious.”

Share only what you’re comfortable with. Dr. Corrigan states, “You can disclose in steps, start with safe things and see how you feel, and going forward you can choose to disclose more. Anything that’s still traumatizing, you should consider keeping private.”

If someone is supportive and encouraging, let the person know how to help you, such as if you need a ride to an appointment or someone to listen. Tell them that you’ll let them know if you want advice and that you would prefer support rather than counseling.

Refer them to resources to learn more, such as information from NAMI. The more people who talk about their mental health, the more acceptable it will be for people to be more open about the topic. “The best way to change stigma is not education—it’s contact,” says Dr. Corrigan.

 

Laura Greenstein is communications coordinator at NAMI.

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/January-2017/Opening-Up-to-Others-about-Your-Mental-Health