How often have you noticed a friend feeling bogged down? Tired, but not exhausted, sick but unable to pinpoint where exactly anything is off? When you ask how they’re feeling, if their answer isn’t positive, are they able to pinpoint the reason? These are all too familiar scenarios for folks that suffer from a mental illness.
When was the last time you asked someone how they were emotionally? If you are struggling with mental health, being asked how you’re doing mentally and emotionally as well as physically can have a huge impact on your outlook! Here are a few reasons why it’s so important to ask someone how they’re doing emotionally and mentally.
- It makes them feel important. All of my bosses at work know that I struggle with my mental health sometimes. 3 weeks after I started here, I had to take a few days off to go to the hospital for my eating disorder, and several days off a month since then up until recently to go for therapy sessions: so it’s no secret to anyone at work that I have issues that I’m working through. A few weeks ago during a particularly busy day, one of my bosses came up to me to ask how I was doing. When I said I felt fine, he said, “How are you mentally?” I admit it caught me off guard, but it made me feel so important at that moment. Having him take a minute out of his day to ask how I was feeling about an often neglected part of me, made me feel like talking about it was okay, good even. Being asked about my mental health made me feel as though for once, what I had to say was enough and someone was listening.
- It makes them feel comfortable. Often, those of us who struggle with mental health feel as though no one wants to listen to us. Sometimes we feel like our struggles make us weak, and it’s best not to talk about it. Even when we’re asked “How are you?” We always assume folks are talking about our physical health and well-being, and nothing more. Asking someone specifically “How is your mental health?” can make them feel comfortable enough to open up to you! It can make someone feel like they don’t have to worry about their problems alone and that you’re genuinely interested to know how they are. Showing someone that you’re there for them for any issues they’re facing can help them relax around you and feel comfortable being vulnerable even just for a few minutes.
- It can turn their day around! When someone asks how you’re doing mentally, it can turn your whole day around. When my boss asked me about my mental health, it made my day a little brighter. Knowing that someone cared enough to ask about it made me feel like I wasn’t so alone in my problems and that maybe not all people shared the same apathy towards mental health. Even just for a moment, feeling like someone had the ability to connect with me made my feelings of isolation and general withdrawal disappear in an instant.
Being in tune with your own mental health can have great personal benefits, but as you can see, asking someone else how their mental health is doing, can bring them out of a slump pretty quickly. Make sure you take a minute today to ask a friend how their mental health is – and if need be, set up a weekly Mental Health Check-In to be sure you and your loved ones are getting the help you need!