When I was working in primary care, anxiety and depression were common diagnoses that patients were trying to manage, often by themselves. Patients didn't usually present with "depression" or "anxiety" but instead would come in complaining of fatigue, insomnia, lethargy, mood swings, weight changes, crying spells, palpitations, anger outbursts, or feelings of hopelessness or overwhelm.
Knowing that anxiety and depression often present as behaviors, how can we support our loved ones who are facing mental health challenges?
How can we protect our own mental health while doing so?
There are several steps we can take to support our loved ones while also protecting our own mental health.
Using the mnemonic PARTICIPATE, let's learn more about what we can do.
I hope these concrete strategies allow you to feel more empowered when you engage with your friends and family members who are struggling with mental health issues. Perhaps you are the person who is struggling, and you can share this article with your loved ones.
We simply do not know what we do not know.
Effort and positive intentions are the beginning to valuable support.
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