In recognition of Minority Mental Health month I would like to share three ways you can support a love one or friend that has a mental illness, but first let me tell you what prompted this.
A video has been circulated on social media showing actress Maia Campbell displaying unhealthy behaviors. The person who videotaped asked questions of her that highlighted to exploit her situation instead of offering help to put her on a healthier past.
As I watched the video my heart sunk because Maia Campbell could be my sister…a family member…a loved one…a friend. She is someone’s daughter. She is a Black woman who needs help. Sadly, her current condition served as entertainment for another Black man and for the world to see her at her worst.
If you don’t have nothing uplifting to videotape and share don’t share nothing at all. The individual taking the video could have used this opportunity to show love for another person and offered assistance. It was obvious that Maia Campbell was in desperate need of help. Mental illness should not be taken lightly and it definitely should not be seen as entertainment for others. The stigma associated with it causes many to be insular, stay silent and not see the help they need. So instead of being entertained why not choose to help. If you are not sure one how can help a person, here are three ways to help a loved one or friend you know that has a mental illness.
Here’s how to help:
Be nonjudgmental and don’t use the phrase “Just get over it” or “Just pray, the Lord will fix it” Instead ask, “Is there anything I can do to help you today or how is your day going for you?” Know that it is all about taking it one day at a time also. It is not uncommon for the person to be resistance to admit they need help. You may need to find different ways and help your friend or loved one begin on the road to a healthier path.
2. Resources: Contacting 211 is a confidential service that helps people across the United States find local resources in their area and that includes mental health resources and services.
Increase your Knowledge: NAMI- National Alliance of Mental Illness. The good thing about this one is not only can the person with mental illness get some help or support, so can the love ones or the people who care about them get support as well. They can learn how to adjust with the love one /friend with a mental illness, how to support them and receive more information related to understanding mental illness, especially the needs of your friend/loved one.
So as you look at these suggestions, I want you to think about what if you were in their shoes? Mental illness can happen to anyone and if it can happen to you, how would you like to be treated? Would you like to be videotaped and made a spectacle for entertainment? Or would you like for someone to care enough for you to support and help you towards a healthier path?
Help because you care. Don’t videotape to be entertained.