Girl, Interrupted

©JODIE GOODACRE

 

What small things do you think would make a big difference to someone struggling with their mental health?

"I cannot express enough the sheer importance of reaching out to a loved one if they are acting differently. Supporting someone doesn't mean being their therapist, it simply means being a friend and showing unconditional love. The small things make a big difference. Never underestimate the power of conversation. One conversation can change a life."

JODIE GOODACRE | 22 | UK

"A text, even if its just saying hi, as me and my friends call it 'a mate date', it doesn't have to be expensive, you could have them round and cook together..."

MELISSA | 24 | UK

"Listening, talking, not only about struggles but any topic, to distract and also show the person is more than their illness and struggles."

LULU | 42 |  FRANCE

 

"There are so many small things that can make a difference, for me it is people letting me know they are there and that they care. This is in my mothers posit notes that say ‘I love you to the moon and back’, my aunties walks or drives and even my friends tagging me in a hummus or dog meme. It is the small things that say ‘I am thinking about you’."

NICOLE WILLIAMS | 24 | UK

"Your attitude to them makes a big difference. Be genuine."

TED | 21 | TAIWAN

"Positive distractions. Animals are good for the mind."

HEIDI WILSON | 18 | UK

 

"Talking about it. I went 5 years with this massive burden of mental illness of my shoulders and finally opening up felt like a massive relief. Even a 2 minute conversation, simply asking ‘are you okay?’ or even reassuring them ‘I’ve got your back’ can make all the difference for someone struggling."

CHLOE BELLERBY | 17 | UK

"Having a nice cup of tea and a long chat"

HEIDI WILLIAMS | 17 | UK

"Just having a conversation with somebody to show them you understand and that they are not alone is huge. Simply opening up and showing someone they don’t have to hide their illness can really take the pressure off."

ROB | 25 | UK

 

"Making people aware just how many of us have such struggles. There shouldn't be any more hushed talking about mental health, it shouldn't be restricted to doctors or even your family and friends. It is about collectively sharing our mental problems, so that having such problems is not "unusual" or "weird" any more."

MATTHIAS | 21 | BELGIUM

"It is really hard for a person to find the right advice to give to a person, but in general everything that transfers blame to the individual for their situation is detrimental. Especially "just pick yourself up."

D | 20 | BULGARIA

"I think first and foremost should be kindness. Being kind when someone is struggling can be so helpful. It can help someone feel safe and less like they are losing their mind. Understanding and patience are key as well."

KATHY M | 41 | CANADA

 

"Small things like having a visit from a mate, someone to talk too when needed makes a huge difference."

ASHLEY CURRY | 49 | UK

"It makes a big difference to me when I feel supported. People can do that by encouraging you, checking in with you and celebrating your successes! I have friends and family who are my biggest cheerleaders even when I think I’m not good enough. One of my friends wrote in my Christmas card “so proud of what you have achieved this year - think of all the things you can accomplish next year” -  that means the world!"

LAURA BARTLEY | 28 | UK

"Make them a cup of tea, allow then time to talk and listen without judgement."

JON SALMON | 40 | UK

 

"Small things that I do that I think would make a big difference to someone struggling with their mental health is being able to relate to different situations and be someone to tell them that it does get better. With an open mind and a support system, anything is possible."

CHELSEA GIRARD | 19 | CANADA

"Showing that you care and that you will be there for them, even if that is just via text messages to check in with them, or by sending them a card. Letting them know that, although you may not be able to fight the battle for them, you will be alongside them while they do."

MATTHEW WILLIAMS | 43 | UK

"Self-care is so important, but as my girlfriend said to me: self-care is not about just doing fun stuff. Often it's the things that will make you feel less anxious and/or depressed. It's taking care of yourself. Personally I think writing helps a lot.."

MARC LAMBERTS | 25 | NETHERLANDS

 

"I always find listening helps so much as well as a little reassurance. You don't need to be an expert, when I am in my depths of depression someone simply listening to me, validating how I feel and just taking time out of their day listen and let me know that things will get better make such a positive difference."

JACOB PEOPLE | 20 | UK

"Human interaction, feeling part of a group, talking to someone. Humans need human contact. Isolation and bottling things up is a catalyst for it all to go wrong."

NICOLE WOODWARD | 19 | UK

"Simply having someone who will support you during the bad times, laugh with you during the good, and perhaps most importantly: still treat you as you! Everyone who suffers from a mental health problem is still a person with their own unique qualities, and it’s important that isn’t overlooked."

LISA | 20 | UK

 

"Ask them what they need, don’t suggest futile ways to fix it (i.e. “go for a run” is not a useful suggestion, it would help if they asked me what I needed.) Understand that you don’t need to respond or have the answer, just being there is enough."

ELENA WOLFSON | 27 | UK

"Just taking the time to say I love you every day and letting them know how special they are."

ADAM HUGHES | 24 | UK

"It really is the simple things, just them feeling that they can be open and honest about their struggles and that someone cares can make all the difference. We're just humans, reassurance and a bit of comfort goes a long way."

ZOE HAZEL | 27 | UK

 

"Always being there to listen non-judgementally. If you know a friend/relative who is struggling, just a simple message asking how they’re doing and saying you’re always there can make a massive difference. Offering assistance with day to day tasks can also be a great help, I know when I’ve been having a bad period the idea of doing my weekly food shop is absolute hell."

CHARLOTTE BATES | 23 | UK

"Asking things like “how are you” and checking in with people can sometimes be as good as anything else as it helps to just know people are looking out for you and are interested in listening to you. Going for a drink or something to eat with a friend can also help and just little things that help to take their mind off things will be beneficial."

PETER SHAW | 25 | UK

"Things like checking in – by text, call, or even social media – if you haven’t heard from someone for a little while, arranging to meet up – even if it’s just for a coffee or a little walk – without the pressure for either person to put on a front, even something as silly as sending cute or funny videos that you know the person will like, or just letting them know that you’re there to listen."

ABBIE HAMBLETON | 22 | UK

 

"Simple things like a text message, sending a card, or even tagging someone in a meme can all make such a difference to someone who is struggling. Simple gestures like this remind you that you are not alone. When I was depressed I often didn’t have the energy to text back, but I had one friend who kept sending me messages anyway, so I knew she really cared and was there for me."

MARY | 21 | UK

"Send them a copy of Take a Break, send a hello message, send some stupid jokes or pictures. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture or a cure, just be there. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, what’s important is that you’re making an effort."

KATIE | 27 | UK

"If someone doesn’t seem themselves, take the time to genuinely ask them how they are, and then truly listen. It seems so simple but it can make a huge difference to someone’s life knowing that there are people out there who see them and who care about them."

CARA | 27 | UK

 

"One good piece of advice I picked up a Spider-Man comic was “When everything gets hectic and you feel overwhelmed, focus on getting one thing done, and take it from there.” The thing doesn’t matter, it could be as small as drinking a glass of water, but it’s a mantra I use a lot when I feel like I’m drowning. A new book I’m reading - “Remember thing when you’re sad” - recommends taking time out to remember you’re not a burden. You are good. You do matter."

CARL | 26 | UK

"Being part of a supportive community, creating relationships with people you trust, have been in similar situations so they understand, so that you have people to reach out too if you may need them!"

STEPHANIE | 24 | UK

"I think making time for them. Meet up for a drink, go for a walk. One to one time can be really important, this is when someone is most likely to open up."

MIKE | 31 | UK

 

"Nearly everyone will say a listening ear, small things like being invited out to lunch or a walk, or shopping even if they say no means a lot. Having time to recuperate definitely helps and taking time for the self to almost heal in those moments is so important and knowing what can help to increase the positivity in oneself whether its hobbies or people."

LEANNE | 22 | UK

"Simply asking how someone is can be so helpful when someone is struggling - listen to them or perhaps listen to what they don't say. The most powerful thing you can say is "I am here" and "you don't have to go through this alone". My favourite gesture is sending someone a card or a note - never underestimate the power of your words of support and the smile that it will bring to your loved ones. Its a simple way to show that you care and are there for them."

GRACE ANDERSON | 24 | UK

"I think being able to drop into conversation that you can feel a panic attack coming on just as you might say you've got a headache coming on can be a huge relief. Knowing that you can do that and people wont over react is really helpful. My colleagues, past and present, will either amuse me with stories or ask if I fancy going out for a gossip and a quick walk around the office block. It really takes the weight off."

LUCY NICHOL | 39 | UK