There are many ways that we can support each other in developing more positive coping strategies and subsequently building resilience when dealing with mental ill health. I will be exploring three of these strategies below…
- Offer a ‘listening ear.’
It is important for everyone to feel like they have a ‘safe space’ where their feelings will be taken seriously, and where they feel reassured that they won’t be negatively judged. This means that we must show empathy to others, trying to fully understand what they’re feeling so that we are better equipped to support them through the difficult times.
One really simple step that we can all take to support, not just those with a mental health problem, but everyone, is just being there to listen. Knowing that there is always someone who we can talk to about our feelings can help us to feel less ‘alone’ in our struggles by encouraging us to open up about any worries that we may have instead of letting them ‘fester away.’ Doing this will increase the chances of them going back to you for support when they’re struggling, with this (talking) being a positive coping strategy and one that should undoubtedly be encouraged.
2. Encourage people to pursue their interests
When struggling with our mental health, we can lose interest and motivation in the activities that we once enjoyed. This, however, can lead to us becoming ‘trapped’ in a vicious cycle, whereby we stop engaging in the things we love because we feel bad, but not engaging in the things we love makes us feel worse, resulting in our mental health suffering even further. People should therefore be encouraged to continue to explore their interests and stay connected to others because, like talking about our feelings, doing things we used to enjoy or have always wanted to do is another positive coping strategy that everyone should be encouraged to devote more time towards, whether they struggle with mental ill health, or not.
3. Encourage the maintenance of a routine/day-to-day structure
As touched upon in the previous paragraph, when someone is struggling with mental ill health, they might lack motivation to do even the most basic of things, struggling to get out of bed, even.
Encouraging the formation of a positive routine, even if it just consists of setting an alarm for a certain time every morning, eating at set times, and going to bed at a certain time every night, can help people to focus on something other than their mental health, giving them a sense of achievement and purpose, too.
Furthermore, people should also be encouraged to incorporate activities they enjoy into their day, as highlighted in the previous paragraph. These are all examples of positive coping strategies that, with adequate support and encouragement, can be adopted by people struggling with their mental health.
The above are examples of preventative measures that we should all be taking to ensure that our mental health remains good, not an intervention that we should wait until our mental health has already declined to partake in.
So, if you’re not already talking to others openly about your feelings, engaging in activities you enjoy, and maintaining a routine/structure in your days, make sure you follow the steps above to preserve your mental health and the mental health of those around you.
#PROACTIVITY over REACTIVITY
#PREVENTION over INTERVENTION