Support can take different forms because a listening ear alone may not be what some persons need. For that single dad with a young daughter, it can mean offering to comb her hair sometimes if you see that he is struggling.
For the elderly widow whose children no longer visit it can mean dropping off a hot meal once or twice a week and staying to have a conversation so she doesn’t feel alone in the world. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that someone cares. Knowing that one single person cares can sometimes be that ray of hope to a hopeless individual.
It is easy to tell someone to be strong, which in my opinion is of zero value to someone who is contemplating ending their life. This person has long since utilized all their strength and needs someone to fill some gaps for them at this point. It is good to quote encouraging scriptures or promise to pray for someone who is struggling but faith in action is actually required.
It is good to intercede on behalf of others especially when prayer might be the farthest thing from their mind. Some people don’t even have a relationship with God so prayer wouldn’t even cross their mind. So it’s great that you see the need to pray, but add works to your faith and be the answer to someone’s prayer.
Also, check on your strong friends and relatives.
That friend who appears to always have it together may very well be fighting battles you would never imagine.
That sister who is always dispensing advice may be having a hard time taking that same advice.
That homie who is always making everyone laugh just might be using comedy to conceal the dark thoughts that plagues him constantly.
The friend who is always “good” is really not always good.
Check on your strong friends and relatives.
Be proactive about your own health
Let’s be honest, long before many people get to the point of no return, they know when something is wrong. You know when you are feeling off, you know when things are getting to be too much and it is important that we start to take our mental health seriously and act at the first sign of trouble.
Wouldn’t you go and see a doctor and possibly change your diet and start to exercise if you were having chest pains and other symptoms that could indicate a pending heart attack?It is the same way that we ought to take steps to stop mental illness in its tracks.
This may mean going to see a therapist, it might mean going to a doctor who can actually prescribe medications to combat depression or to manage your bipolar disorder or whichever of the many forms of mental illness you may be facing.
For others talking to a trusted friend or relative may be enough to keep you grounded and help you to realize that it really is not as bad as it seems. You may realize that help is available if only you would reach out and let someone know that you actually need help.
How often have we heard stories of people who actually ended their lives or made an attempt and the response of those closest to them were along the lines of they just saw them recently and had no idea they were struggling because they were always so happy and never gave any indication that they were on the brink of disaster?
There are some simple inexpensive actions that we can incorporate into our routines that can make a big difference.
Take a break -A seemingly simple action such as taking a break can work wonders and give you that recharge you need to keep going. Do something just for you.
Ask for and accept help – I too am afflicted with that disease of hating to ask for help, feeling like you must do everything alone and when it gets too much you feel overwhelmed. We are told in Galatians chapter 6, verse 2 to “Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” You are robbing people of an opportunity to live out the word of God when you choose to be selfish with your problems. Jesus could have insisted on carrying the cross himself, but He allowed Simon to carry it.
Feel your feelings – Be honest with yourself about how you feel. You cannot work on a problem that you refuse to acknowledge. It’s necessary to stop sometimes and acknowledge that you are unhappy, or tired, or overwhelmed.
Jesus told us in St. Matthew chapter 11, verses 28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
You cannot trade your sorrows if you refuse to admit even to yourself and God that you have sorrows.
Be kind to yourself - The world is full of people who are willing to be critical of you, speak negatively about and to you and generally be mean to you. Don’t be one of them. Be kind to yourself. Cut yourself some slack.
Let us make a decision today to be a bit more aware of what people are going through and make a conscious decision to be our brother’s keeper. And while you’re at it don’t forget to also give yourself grace and remember that good health also means good mental health.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John chapter 16, verse 33)
Natasha Young is an accountant and mother of one from the land of wood and water (Jamaica) in the West Indies who feels like she has missed her true calling which was to have become a teacher, or writer/director (or all of the above!). She is the only person she knows who works with numbers everyday but had English as a favourite subject in school. The most used app on her phone is Kindle so you know what that means. She is a lover of music and can oftentimes be heard belting on the top of her voice even though singing is not a talent of hers. But ultimately, she is just a sinner saved by grace who believes we all have a responsibility to use our gifts for the growth of God’s people and His glory.