How to talk with someone about their mental health

Posted at 7:32 AM, Sep 10, 2020

BUFFALO, WKBW — September is suicide prevention month-- a time to become aware of the warning signs and learn how to help someone in need. Mental Health Counselor Patrick Greene says if you have a loved one experiencing suicidal thoughts it's important to directly address their feelings without judgment.

During the last few months-- people’s mental health has been suffering.

Horizon Health Services says they have seen an increase in the need for therapy and encourages people to talk to their loved ones about the stress, anxiety, and depression they are going through.

“If you’re interested in helping someone find a healthy place, start with acknowledging how they are feeling," Greene said. "If they are feeling alone their response should be...Ya this must be really hard, what is this like for you? Then you find a place to go, but if we skip over that then you are just going to feel more isolated.”

Greene says to talk about how someone is feeling and then think of solutions to solving a problem.

“Validation and compassion are probably the two most powerful things we can offer people that are struggling or feeling some type of distress," Greene said. We often want to go straight to solving problems. When we often ask the question of what’s wrong, how can we fix this or what can we do to help you feel better? But in truth, we are adding to that person’s distress.”

What should we say?

“Focus on how can I be present with this person, things like I noticed you are feeling lonely lately. Just noticing and using I see you messaging,” Greene said.

With all the uncertainty with school, how can parents help their children?

“Intentionally sitting down with your child and giving that space becomes really important, more important now than ever before," Greene said. "Experience stress and then naturally come back down, that is what is going to help them build resiliency to deal with whatever is going to happen throughout the school year.”

Greene says if you think someone needs additional help, it’s important for the person to make an appointment rather than a loved one making it for them.

Horizon Health Services

Suicide Prevention lifeline