Here’s how to help someone dealing with a mental health crisis in a pandemic

I would like to start this post off by stating that the information in this post is subjective and not scientifically-backed. These are my own thoughts, ideas and opinions, and by no means am I trying to imply that I am certified to give concrete advice in the context of mental health; rather, this is advice that I have found to be effective for myself in dealing with my own mental illness.

The world has somewhat gone to shit as of late, and here in Ontario, we are, once again, in lockdown. Or, rather, ‘shutdown,’ but quite frankly, I don’t give a fuck what the proper terminology is because the entire COVID-19 protocol system in place in Canada is a bunch of horse shit. Small businesses are on the brink of going under and are being forced to close again, meanwhile, other services that are by no means essential are permitted to remain open and operating.

It’s truly ridiculous.

Mental health has arguably never been worse thanks to the coronavirus and all of its ripple effects, and this most recent shutdown where I am isn’t going to make the situation any better. I am genuinely concerned about the mental health of the human race in general at this point in time, and I thought I would give some suggestions to potentially assist someone you know who is seriously struggling.

Toxic positivity is a tremendous hindrance in the mental health realm. For example, if someone is having a lot of anxiety, you may be tempted to say, “try to focus on the positive” or “you’re not the only one, try to see past this.” While you may mean well in making these statements, you’re essentially perpetuating the ideology that this particular person’s mental health isn’t bad enough, or isn’t debilitating enough, because someone out there has it worse than they do. This could very well be true, but in saying this, you’re implying that the struggles of the person you’re interacting with aren’t severe enough, which will not aid them in any manner.

Your best bet in helping someone with their mental health in the midst of a pandemic is to steer them in the direction of getting professional help, reiterating to them that you are always available to listen and not judge, and remind them that they are loved and supported by you. When in doubt, hear them out, and give them a sense of security by sticking by their side and refusing to let them feel unsupported.

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