suicide, eating disorders, mental illness
Saturday, September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day.
We’ve all heard the quip about how you wouldn’t tell somebody with a broken leg to get over it so you also shouldn’t tell somebody with anxiety to just get over it. I want to take that a step farther.
When somebody breaks their leg, there really isn’t anything we can do for them. It’s a commonly accepted fact that unless you are a doctor, you can’t be of too much help. Once they have a cast, sure you can cook them dinner or go grocery shopping for them. You can push the wheelchair and help them up the stairs, but in terms of actually fixing the issue of the broken leg, you can’t do much. And we’re comfortable with that. We know we can’t wave a magic wand and heal the bone.
We can just be there – as a friend – to help out in whatever way we can.
When somebody is dealing with an invisible wound, like depression, bulimia, or bipolar disorder, we don’t really know if there is anything we can do for them. We know we can’t wave a magic wand and heal their heart or their mind, but we want to. We want to just spend a really fun day with them and show them that they don’t have to be depressed. Or we want to just convince them that they should “just eat” and then everything will be fine. Or we’d like to think it’s as simple as shaking someone back to reality. We don’t fully comprehend that our inability to fix broken legs can also apply to hurting psyches.
But we can just be there – as a friend – to help out in whatever way we can.
Time to Change is a mental health organization in the UK that works to end the discrimination and stigmas that exist around mental health. They aim to open the conversation to everybody. According to their website, nearly 75% of young people fear the reaction they would receive from their friends should they open up about their mental health problems.
Nearly three out of every four young people.
It can be exceptionally hard for someone to open up about their struggle or to talk about what they’re going through. If you are gifted with that trust, do not abuse it. Listen, love, and when necessary, get professional help.
Above all else, show more kindness than necessary. Go above and beyond. Let your love overflow. You never know who may need it.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline