Tips for mental illness

At times, people with mental illness may have difficulty dealing with the tasks and interactions of daily life. Their condition may interfere with their ability to feel, think or relate to others.

One of the main obstacles they face is the attitudes that people have about them.

Because mental illness is not visible, chances are you will not even realise that the person has a mental health condition. To be proactive in making sure your environment is comfortable for people with mental health conditions, ensure that you are approachable, have a good understanding and attitude about mental health issues, and have plenty of time to listen when someone is talking. It also helps to support and promote mental health initiatives such as ‘RUOK day’ and to start conversations about mental illness.

Keep in mind:

  • Stress can affect a person’s ability to function. Try to keep the pressure of any given situation to a minimum.
  • People with mental illness may have different ways of coping with their disability. Some may have trouble picking up on social cues, others may be overly sensitive. One person may be very hyperactive, while someone else may appear lethargic.
  • Treat each person as an individual. Ask what will make them most comfortable and respect their needs to the maximum extent possible.