Yes, you read that right; fifty! I’ve enjoyed writing posts around tips, advice, do’s and don’ts so I thought the ultimate one would be to put 50 of them in one big post!
Please don’t take this post as condescending and think that just because I’m in recovery I think it makes me an expert on mental health. I don’t, think that; I just hope that my experiences can provide others with the advice that might spare them from going through some of the same hardships. I also don’t want people to think that these tips don’t recognize the strength it takes to do some of them; anyone who knows me – and my blog – will know how important I think it is to acknowledge a person’s bravery and courage in mental health.
1. Recognize that everyone has mental health.
2. Tell the young people in your family about mental health as soon as possible.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
4. Learn about your local mental health services and other support services available in your area.
5. Stop using ‘duty of care’ like it’s a meaningless phrase you were forced to learn in training.
6. Learn that prioritizing yourself over all of the other things in your life doesn’t mean you’re selfish or shallow.
7. Professionals really have ‘heard everything’ – don’t be ashamed to tell them your deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings.
8. Know that running away – in almost all instances - will lead to Police involvement.
9. Always have some ‘me time’ in your day – even if it’s less than an hour!
10. Realize that no one has all of the answers – sometimes it can feel like the professionals are being useless!
11. Don’t judge someone for the coping skills they have desperately resorted to.
12. Know that one in four people in the UK have experience of mental illness – you aren’t alone.
13. Learn to recognize when a relationship has become detrimental to your life.
14. Weigh up the short-term benefits to the long-term consequences.
15. Where possible, always take your home comforts on a hospital admission.
16. Be prepared for support sessions/appointments to be cancelled at the last minute.
17. Always read the leaflet on the side effects of your medication.
18. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when trying out safe, and healthy coping strategies.
19. Keep an eye on self-harm wounds – even if they don’t warrant medical attention, they can still get infected.
20. Never assume that two people will have things in common just because they have the same diagnosis.
21. Don’t be afraid to tell professionals what you find helpful – it doesn’t mean you’re telling them how to do their jobs.
22. Don’t ignore advice just because you don’t THINK it will help – try it anyway!
23. Make sure you have the phone numbers of all of the professionals involved in your care saved in your phone.
24. Forget the word ‘normal’ – it has no meaning in mental health!
25. Don’t make your mind up on a professional before they’ve even had a chance to speak to you!
26. Put all of your medications and doses into a ‘note’ on your phone.
27. Recognize that ‘trauma’ means something different to everyone.
28. The only opinion of your appearance that matters is your own.
29. Never refer to A&E as ‘quiet’ – you’ll completely jinx it and find yourself waiting an extra few hours!
30. Know the difference between using your mental health as a reason for your behaviour and using it as an excuse.
31. If your mental health means you need to claim state benefits, then be honest – don’t lie or exaggerate.
32. Recognize a person’s ability over any inabilities.
33. Remember that respect is a two-way street!
34. Understand that one person’s definition of abuse might be different to another’s.
35. Watch your language – some words take on a different meaning and come with a whole new set of consequences in mental health.
36. Always treat others how you would like to be treat.
37. Never consider yourself to be better than someone because of the state of their mental health.
38. Resist the urge to listen to sad songs when you’re feeling low – their level of being relatable can easily turn to triggering.
39. Don’t tell your loved one that they are like ‘a whole new person’ since their mental health deteriorated.
40. Know that even when they’re cut from the same cloth, two people may not treat you the same!
41. Realize that having a lot of experience in Services doesn’t mean someone knows how to ‘play the system.’
42. Learn all about the Mental Health Act and other relevant laws that come into play a lot in a mental health crisis.
43. Don’t be afraid to make a formal complaint.
44. Learn people’s names as a sign of respect.
45. Always use your manners – they cost nothing!
46. Don’t say ‘I understand’ lightly – it means a lot more in mental health.
47. Look for inspiration in the most original of places.
48. Always follow the Doctor’s instructions on taking your medication e.g. taking them on a full stomach or only at nighttime.
49. Never tell a Service User how you self-harmed – if they copy, you’ll feel to blame.
50. If you’re looking for an escape, try reading or watching Netflix.