The whole functioning of the human body depends on the brain. Whether it is a small task or a big task, all decisions are made through the mind. Sometimes the working capacity of the brain gets badly affected, leading to the onset of mental illness. During this time, along with the ability of people to work, their behaviour and their quality of life are also severely affected. Mental illness is a disease that changes the thinking, mood, behaviour etc. of any person. Depression, stress, bipolar disorder are also a part of this mental illness. If this situation persists, it starts to change the routine of a person negatively.
Health concerns like these have drastically given rise to ill-practices like suicide, self-harm, etc. No matter how much we love and adore our loved ones, it is widespread for anyone of any gender or age to fall prey to this dangerous illness. In most cases, those who are struggling with mental health concerns may not always look for support or a solution, but the need of the hour is to address mental conditions the right way. If a person requires your assistance; the WAIT approach will help you in your effort to safeguard them!
What is WAIT?
- W - Watch for distress signs and behaviour changes.
- A - Ask about any contemplation about self-harm in a gentle manner.
- I - It will pass - assure the person that with proper support and help; suicidal ideation can decrease and will pass.
- T - Talk to others, encourage the person to seek help from Mental Health experts.
Following are certain red flags that one must understand to take necessary steps:
Factors like helplessness, a sudden change in behaviour, emptiness, profound messages on social media are some red flags, which can indicate some problem in a person. Some may even go to the extent of searching for drastic ways to end their lives. All these are red flags that are clear indicators of mental health conditions. Just your presence, in person or over the phone, whilst listening actively and a show of genuine understanding and empathy can help an individual cope with the situation. Also, help your friends understand the need of going to specialists and mental health experts, and build a support group to share your thoughts and mindset.
First Aid For Mental Health
Who says first aid is only for cuts and bruises? Likewise, first aid is also available for mental health. Mental health first aid is a process of detecting potential mental illness in a person. It involves the individual to identify emotional and behavioural issues and seek professional help when needed. First aid increases a person’s chances of recovering from the disease. When you see a loved one going through emotional turmoil, you can talk to them and have a secret conversation with them to sympathize, such as:
- Listen to their thoughts but don’t blame them for this
- Try to understand their feelings.
- Do not try to give a solution; help the person find a solution.
- Find out if they have a support system.
If you believe that the person is contemplating suicide, or is experiencing debility on emotional or behavioural issues such as drug addiction, take them to a mental health specialist. And, do not forget to stress on the fact that ‘This shall pass’ for your loved ones.
With inputs by Dr Kedar Tilwe, Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund & Vashi
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