Better Communication for Mental Health: How to Respond, Not React


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If someone you love is suffering from mental health issues and comes to you to talk, your first inclination may be to offer positive words of encouragement or to give advice on how to "be happier". While your words of support may be well-intentioned, they may make your loved one feel as though you're minimizing their situation. When communicating with a loved one about their mental health, it is important to take some time to respond appropriately rather than to react immediately. After responding, if you find that your loved one is in need of additional help, you can gently encourage them to reach out to a therapist in Baltimore for support.


Try Not to Minimize Their Feelings

When someone is experiencing feelings of depression, it may be your first inclination to respond with positive words of encouragement or with your own similar stories in an effort to connect. Quick platitudes such as "be grateful something worse didn't happen" may make your loved one feel as though you are diminishing their situation. When a person is expressing feelings of sadness, frustration, etc., more often than not, they are would prefer to be heard rather than placated. Instead, try to listen to what your loved one has to say and let them know that you hear their concerns and that you are there to help.


Be Mindful of Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a situation in which someone causes you to question your own reality. Common phrases such as "just try to stop being so negative" or "you can choose to be happier" may come from a good place, but can cause your friend or loved one to question the validity of their feelings. Rather than practicing tough love or trying to emulate a therapist in Baltimore, try mirroring your loved one's feelings back to them to let them know that you have heard what they have to say and that their feelings are valid.


Do Not Offer Instant Advice

Our first instinct when our loved one is hurting is to immediately offer advice to help fix the situation and lessen their pain. Oftentimes, there may be deeper mental health issues that are contributing to their current state of unhappiness. Just as it is important not to minimize their situation, it is also important to be mindful of the type of advice that you're offering. It may be more helpful to allow your loved one the space to express all of their feelings before you offer any insights and support. If your loved one expresses an interest in pursuing mental health services, you can offer support by helping them find a therapist in Baltimore and throughout Maryland that can provide professional mental health services.


Are You Looking for a Therapist in Baltimore? Contact B'well Counseling Services

B'well Counseling Services is a mental health therapy practice offering a full range of therapeutic services including online counseling in Towson, MD and the Greater Baltimore area. We believe in helping people rekindle their curiosity and reconnect to their core selves so that they can truly be well. We value wellness and connection over happiness because we understand that being able to experience the full range of human emotions and experiences is what helps us heal and grow. At B'well, we are dedicated to creating a space for anyone who has ever felt unwelcome because of their identity, orientation, or expression.


B'well Counseling Services offers Telehealth Therapy Services. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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