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On the Other Side of Support

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Shulanda J. Hastings

Ambassador Shulanda

Ambassador Shulanda

Shulanda J. Hastings is an inspirational writer, Christian counselor and an ambassador to the faith-based community; helping them break mental health barriers. She is the author of the Beauty of My Thorns novel series and of the memoirs, Keeping My Faith While Saving My Mind.

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Have you ever been in a situation where you needed help?

That is an understatement, right?

You might be thinking; I could use some help right now.  And that’s okay. We all need help at some point or another in life. It is the kind of help we need that varies.

Life is full of challenges and obstacles.  Today you might need a warm smile or comforting hug to get you through the rest of the day. Tomorrow you could need gas for your car or milk for your baby.

It all depends on your current crisis or situation.

Have you ever been in need of something and came in contact with the person who could help you and they treated you like an inconvenience or less than human? Although their cruel treatment deeply hurt your feelings, you endured it in hopes you would still be helped.

This is the experience that many people get that are in need of mental health services. Some have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, others are going through an acute stage and then there are those that are experiencing a sudden tragedy.

When people are emotionally stressed and find the courage to pick up the phone to receive professional services or resources, the last thing that they need to hear is the sound of an intentionally cruel person. When a mother is experiencing postpartum depression, the last thing she needs is someone making her feel like a bad parent once she arrives a treatment center.

No one wants to feel depressed. No one sets a goal to be constantly overwhelmed with anxiety everyday.

No one deserves to be content with merely existing.

Everyone deserves an opportunity to live life to the fullest each day.

What can you do to help?

Mood disorders such as bipolar and depression affect millions of people. Usually those affected do not seek a professional as their first level of support. They turn to friends and family members.  Those who are suppose to be kind, loving and supportive.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Bad customer service is not the only barrier to helping those in need get to a healthy state.

It is often those trusted the most that set up barrels for those seeking help.  Once confidence has been defied and safety has been misconstrued, it is very hard for someone hurting, frustrated, resentful and confused to reach out for support again.

(Tips from DBSA)

  1. Give unconditional love and support. Offer reassurance and hope for the future. Even if you don’t understand what your loved one is going through.
  1. Have realistic expectations of your loved one. He or she can recover, but it won’t happen overnight. Be patient and keep a positive, hopeful attitude.
  1. Don’t ask the person to “snap out of it.” Your friend or family member can’t snap out of this condition any more than he or she could overcome diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure without treatment.
  1. The best way to find out what your loved one needs from you is by asking direct questions.
  1. Your loved one’s illness is not your fault (or your loved one’s fault). So don’t feel the need to play the blame game.

Now, if you know someone dealing with a mental illness, remember that they are already having to go through a great deal.  If they are part of the fortunate who take a gigantic step to reach out for support, let them be encouraged by doing so.  Let hope and help be on the other side of support. Because living is worth it.

Be there!


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