Have you ever wondered how to tackle a hibernating grizzly bear with a sore paw?
Watching someone in your life that you care about struggle with mental health issues can be difficult, especially if you are unsure how to tackle it.
As part of Men’s Health Week (11 to 17 June) Lifeline WA Education Assistant Jo Lockhart talks about some simple skills to have in your tool box to show you how to care and support the man (aka grizzly bear) in your life.
- Poke the grizzly bear softly
If you are worried or something doesn’t “feel” right, ask your man to set aside some time to spend together to connect. It is important to choose the time and environment carefully, so you can give your full attention.
- Hold his sore paw
Reflect your concerns and what you may have observed and ensure you listen more than you talk. Try to be comfortable with silences, and leave your judgements at the door. Make sure to reassure them that mental health problems are common.
You can be responsive to signs of declining mental health by showing you are open to talking about the subject of men’s mental health which can reduce the stigma, a major barrier to men seeking help. In breaking down this barrier we can help maintain the emotional connections men may need and maintain on-going supports.
- Encourage professional support
Encouraging access to professional help such as a GP is a good start. Ensure your man is aware of what they need to tell their GP, including both physical and emotional symptoms. TIP: Do not try and diagnose him yourself, leave this for the professionals.
- Explore other available supports
Explore who is available around them such as family, friends and work colleagues as well as what helps them when they don’t feel good. Let them know of a 24/7 crisis care number such as Lifeline on 13 11 14, in case no one else is around.
- Don’t delay
If you are worried about your man’s mental health, don’t delay and get onto it today. Prevention or intervention is key. The longer someone is left without treatment, the more difficult their recovery can be. People are more likely to seek help if someone close to them has suggested it.
- Practice self-care
Don’t forget about yourself when supporting someone with mental health issues. It is normal to possibly feel angry, exhausted and drained - remember all reactions are normal. Take the time to be kind to yourself and practice self-care.
Pulling someone out of their dark cave can be confronting, yet by having some simples tools to conquer the fear and stigma attached mental health, you can be responsive to the grizzly bear with a sore paw that you may be worried about in your life.
Lifeline WA is one of P&N Bank's We Champion community partners. P&N's support assists in the training of volunteer telephone crisis supporters.
If you, or someone you know, needs support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.