What do I do if I am concerned about their mental health?
There are several behaviours to look out for and ways you can help.
Look out for behaviours such as:
Not looking after themselves, such as not bathing, wearing unwashed clothes, and not brushing their hair or teeth.
Becoming quiet and withdrawn or excessively social.
Oversleeping or sleeping less than usual.
Becoming agitated or irritated.
Using drugs or alcohol to cope.
Having little to no motivation or energy.
Excessively worrying and procrastinating.
Dramatic changes in their appetite and weight.
Losing interest in things they once enjoyed.
Having excessive screen-time.
Expressing thoughts about low-self esteem, self-harm, hopelessness, and/or suicide.
Make time to spend time with them.
Mention you have noticed a change in their behaviour and add something positive, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been!. You’re usually so!”.
Actively and carefully listen to them without interrupting, talking about your issues, giving advice or judgements, or talking just to fill the silence.
Encourage them to talk about their feelings with open ended questions such as “What’s on your mind?”.
Understand it’s not easy to open up and they may react with anger, dismiss your care, and push you away. Don’t give up!
Respect their boundaries and don’t act in a intrusive manner.
Remind them that their reactions are normal in the circumstances.
Do you best to ensure they are safe.
Where possible offer them practical support, such as organising activities to do together, get them involved in social activities, cleaning, cooking, or mind children or pets.
Don’t tell them you know how they feel, because you don’t. Instead, reflect on what they have said, tell them you are sorry that they are struggling and that you want to understand how to help.
Remember that this is about their feelings, not yours, so don’t take their feelings personally.
Don’t assume one gender will be able to handle their struggles better then others.
Don’t tell them it could be worse.
Support at Curtin
Use the support network at Curtin University to learn how to effectively recognise and manage symptoms of addiction. Professional confidentiality is taken seriously at Curtin’s Psychological and Counselling Services and AccessAbility Services, so any information discussed will remain private unless you or others are in danger or if legally obligated to disclose.
Attend one of our mental health first aid group programs or workshops to improve your mental illness literacy and build confidence in providing first aid/support to someone you are concerned about.
You might need counselling yourself to help you deal with the reactions of a person with mental health issues or to learn more about what services are available, including a crisis plan. Book an appointment with one of our psychology trained counsellors.
Explore the extensive range of clinical services the Curtin clinics has to offer. From speech pathology and exercise programs to physiotherapy and psychology, they offer a range of services for children and adults open to the public.