This pandemic has hit all of us in one way or another. People experienced anxiety, depression, and stress. Some lost their jobs; some lost their loved ones. Although some of us are slowly getting up, there are still some, mostly our friends, are still struggling. Here are some ways to help them from Dr. Alexa Bagnell. She is the chief of psychiatry at IWK Health and head of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Dalhousie University.
Connect with creativity and compassion
Getting outside together is an ideal way to take someone out of the pressures of their day-to-day routine. You can also have an activity together virtually if in-person visit is not available.
Dr. Bagnell acknowledged that compassionate listening is hard. The biggest thing we can do is to just listen whenever a friend is ready to talk about how he is struggling. We do not need to fix it but to just listen.
Get the help they need in that moment
If your friend needs a higher level of support, offer to help with first steps. We should be there for that person in getting that first appointment or helping them make the phone call. It can make a big difference.
It’s OK to ask about suicide or self-harm
“If you are worried, it is important to ask,” Dr. Bagnell says. “It does not increase the risk that they’re going to think about suicide or harming themselves just because you asked it.”
You might ask, “Have you thought about suicide or doing something to hurt yourself?” Add something like, “I am worried about you, and I care so much about you. I would like to help you get connected to the right support right now.” Follow through with that support if needed.
More on the story at https://www.yourdoctors.ca/blog/healthy-living/support-friend