Time and time again I see posts on social media with the best intentions (I honestly mean that), with people saying things like "if you ever need to talk, please reach out to me" or "my door's always open" etc.
For those who suffer with mental health issues the irony is that when you're having a particularly dark day, the last thing your brain is telling you to do is reach out for help. In fact it's doing the complete opposite and convincing you that you're a complete burden to everyone and they really don't want to hear your problems.
This is where those posts don't really work I'm afraid. And look I'm sure I've even done something similar myself. It wasn't until having many sessions with my psychologist did I realise that we're still not quite getting things right when it comes to communicating with each other.
There's a key bit that's missing that's absolutely critical and it requires a little more effort than typing some very kind words. If you know someone who's suffering in some way, please please make contact with them once in a while.
Drop them a text, give them a call or even better pop round and say hi. And if you get the typical response of "I'm fine", keep asking and keep digging until they let those barriers down a bit. It means the absolute world trust me!
For me personally, things have dipped a little bit recently and I'm incredibly lucky to have an amazing wife who's been there for me through thick and thin, the highs and the absolute lows. On top of that I have a small network of fantastic friends / neighbours who purposely ask me how I'm doing and genuinely listen when I open up about what's going on. It's difficult to put in to words the impact these people have had and continue to have on my life, and I will never be able to repay the gratitude that's owed.
So all I'm asking is to keep posting those helping statements, but just follow up on them. It doesn't even have to be about mental health chat, but reaching out to something to show that you really care will mean the world, trust me:)