You don’t have to be a
to help.

It’s listening, being that shoulder that they can
cry on.

You can help others without being a mental health professional.You don’t need to be one in order to be supportive. And that’s really what it is: the way you can help others is to be supportive and support looks different for everyone. It’s not always just providing feedback, offering your opinion or something that is helpful. It’s listening, being that shoulder that they can cry on.

You’ll be surprised what you will learn.

Listening is the most important thing you can do

You don’t need to provide therapy or be a huge resource for them. Sometimes it’s more than enough to just sit there and listen to them vent— listen to their crisis, listen to what they’re going through. And then, if you determine they might benefit from talking to professionals, making that OK to do — making it feel like it’s OK for them to reach out to a professional.

There’s a huge stigma — not only with health care professionals reaching out to their own professionals, but out in the community — that reaching out to mental health for medical support often comes with the label. And that’s not true. We’ve got to get rid of that because it limits people and creates barriers to actually get the help that they need. So it is OK to reach out for that professional support.

But even if you’re not a professional, you can still listen to your friend. You can still listen to your loved one. You can still just be there and not criticize. Just listen. Don’t offer your opinion, don’t say anything, just confirm that you’re listening by nodding and actually just listen to their story.

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