Are You OK?

Are You Ok?

It has become all to common for people to say they are “Okay” even when they are not okay.  There are many reasons for why people may say they are okay when they really are not. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) approximately 1 in 5 individuals (adults and children) in the U.S. experience mental illness any given year.  Knowing this statistic it makes sense to ask twice.  Sometimes just by asking twice someone may feel safe enough to open up.  You may be asking yourself “Woah! If they  open up I don’t know what to do.”  Here are a few simple tips on how you can support someone who has opened up to you about their mental health. 

Take it Seriously – Don’t minimize

You don’t have to understand what someone is going through to offer a supportive environment to them.  Talking about feelings can feel embarrassing and vulnerable. 

2. Offer an Ear

Just listening can be helpful – no answers needed.  Listen with the goal of providing an open and non-judgemental space. 

3. Ask Questions

    1. Once someone has opened up to you try to ask follow-up questions to assist in continued processing. 

Some questions you could ask:

    • “What kind of thoughts are you having?”
    • “What does it feel like?”
    • “How can I support you?”

4. You don’t have to fix it

Naturally, humans have the desire to fix problems, but expecting things to change immediately can often be unhelpful.  However, listening and asking open questions is more helpful. 

5. Offer a resource

Lighthouse Counseling LTD.  prides ourselves in the ability to often offer same day or next day appointments.  When people are in crisis with their mental health lets treat it the same way we treat a physical health crisis.

In other areas lookup mental health services.

Asking twice could be just what someone needs to feel safe to share.

About Kayla

Kayla completed her Masters of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN after obtaining her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Winona State University.  Kayla completed her internship at Lighthouse counseling working with individuals, families, and couples.  Her professional experience has included personal growth counseling with college students, inpatient counseling with adolescents, as well as adult clients.  As an a clinician Kayla uses a framework of cognitive behavioral therapy, Gestalt therapy, and family systems.

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