“50% of us will experience a mental health issue in our lifetime, and 1 in 5 adults has a diagnosable mental illness”
America’s top non-profit organization, Active Minds, which works to support youngsters’ mental health education and awareness, has just published very useful innovative educational resources which are geared to help individuals and family members support a loved one or friend who is battling mental health issues.
“Research shows that 67% of young adults first tell a friend they are feeling suicidal before telling anyone else”
Empowering Concerned Relatives & Friends
Research shows that peer support is crucial when friends are going through difficult times. One of the reasons for this, is the fact that the sufferer may not want to seek medical advice or help. The Chief Program Officer at Active Minds, Laura Horne, stated: “Stigma surrounding mental health has dropped dramatically in recent years among young adults, however, we hear from many that they don’t always know what to say when a friend says they are stressed, having a difficult day, are in pain, or have a mental health need”.
September: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
This month provides a great opportunity for mental health organizations to boost their followers. And to that end, Active Minds have released great V-A-R resources including guides, tools, and conversation tips, to enable concerned friends and relatives to take positive action.
So What is V-A-R Exactly?
This comprises an easy approach to normal conversations. It incorporates 3 simple points: “Validate, Appreciate, and Refer”. When we utilize V-A-R during a conversation with someone who is suffering from mental health problems, it means that we: “openly and actively listen to a friend, and offer means to help them feel heard and supported”. The guides that have just been published, were compiled with the understanding that a positive conversation with a sufferer could make a huge difference to their lives, and stop a full blown crisis later down the line.
Being There For Someone in Need
Active Minds’ Founder and Executive Director, Alison Malmon, remarked: “With V-A-R, we hope to make clear that someone doesn’t need to be in a crisis to seek help, you don’t have to be an expert to provide help, and help can come in many different forms. Being there for someone in a moment of need is what it’s all about.
More About Active Minds
Active Minds is powered via a network of over 800 college and high school campuses across the US; and is available in communities and workplaces, as well as on other channels which reach countless people.
The RAND Corporation recently undertook landmark research which confirmed that Active Minds: “has a significant, positive impact on student health and well-being, by creating a supportive climate for mental health on college campuses”.
Shirley Amy is a Holistic Health Specialist and professional writer who’s published 4 books. Her interests include optimum wellness, mental health, fitness, and positive lifestyle change. She holds University and College qualifications in the fields of Health Science, Nutrition, Mental Health, Fitness, Holistic Therapy and Aromatherapy.