About 2 weeks ago, I participated in a training to become a mental health first aider. It is a new initiative among companies in the U.K. to provide “first line” assistance for people in crisis using the successful framework of physical first aid.
I attended the training for two main reasons: First, it was to better equip myself to help. Second, (related to the first one) to reduce my own misunderstanding (bias on mental health).
Mental health like physical health is our well-being. There are good and bad days. It is also a spectrum rather than a binary matter and it can swing between better and worse.
Don’t give advice on mental health unless you are trained professionally (beyond the mental health first aid training). Do provide information for professional help.
Make sure you are safe before helping others. Act sensibly but not on ungrounded fears.
Don’t judge. We don’t know what the person is going through in his/her life. There are many causes of mental health problems which include heredity. Be there to listen and support non-judgmentally.