Being a Bright Spot for Friends and Family This Season

The holiday season often brings together friends and family from near and far. We get to see loved ones who we haven’t seen in weeks, months or even years. While the hectic nature of the holiday season and gatherings with family and friends can often be distracting and overwhelming, it’s important that we take the time to connect with the people around us.

Last on the Caring for Yourself and Others holiday support blog series, we talked about dispelling mental health stigma and creating a stigma-free squad this season. Part of stomping out the stigma lies within being an ally for friends and family who may be experiencing mental health challenges. Checking in with our loved ones this season to let them know you are there to support them may only take a few minutes of your time, but has the potential to make a huge difference for them.


Check out these resources and tips to learn how you can be a bright spot for others this season:   

  • Listen actively and respond compassionately by keeping in mind the acronym V-A-R: Validate their feelings, Appreciate their courage in sharing their struggles with you and Refer them to skills and support. Learn more here.
  • Sometimes we want to show support for someone but aren’t sure what to say. These Each Mind matters affirmation/support cards can help you show support and bridge the distance between you and someone who is struggling. And remember, often times just being there and being present can help someone in need of support!   
  • If you are not able to gather with your loved ones this season, consider using this downloadable social media template as a way to share, tag, check-in and lift up your family friends. Or send a quick text to check-in with the people in your life.
  • Emotional pain isn’t always obvious. Know the signs and step in or speak up to help someone in need. Click here to learn about some signs to look for, and if you or someone you know needs to talk or is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text BRAVE to 741-741, it’s free and available 24/7. Visit SuicideIsPreventable.org to learn more.  

Don’t forget to always take care of yourself when caring for others! Take a look back at our first blog from the month to make sure you create space for yourself and stay tuned for our final blog of the holiday series, The New Year: Looking Toward 2020 with Mental Well-Being in Mind.


Subscribe to the Each Mind Matters newsletter to stay up to date with the latest from California’s Mental Health Movement.