DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Wellness Wednesday: It’s okay to not be okay

Wellness Wednesday: It’s okay to not be okay

It's okay to not be okay
(Courtesy of Health Promotion and Wellness)
As we begin this new autumn academic quarter, it is imperative that we continue to support ourselves and one another. We want you to know that it’s okay to not be okay. Some days will be harder than others and seeking support is okay. We are here to connect you with the support and resources you need.

Often times those who need help do not seek help right away. Perhaps it's because of stigma, lack of access to care, not wanting the support, or other barriers we face related to our gender, identity, race or culture. Many factors can influence us not getting the help and support we need. The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness, along with many other DePaul departments and community organizations, are here to dispel these myths, provide support, awareness and resources that help you care for your mental health.

Join us every Tuesday for ‘Donut Wait to Get Help’ at 1 p.m. on Facebook Live at @healthydepaul. During these sessions each week, we will introduce a new campus partner, and discuss their services and ways they can empower and support your health and well-being.

We all are experiencing this collective trauma as we navigate the pandemic, racial and systemic injustice, the rising political climate as well as many other losses, traumatic events and sadness that are simultaneously going on. We never know all that one may be experiencing and so we ask that everyone gives more compassion, more kindness, more love and more connections to each other as we navigate this next part of our lives.

If you are supporting a friend or someone that is going through a difficult time, or is going through a mental illness or crisis, offer the following:

1. Listen and validate: Give them space to be heard and validate what they are feeling. This could sound like “Thank you for being open and vulnerable with me, I appreciate your honesty. It sounds like you’re going through a difficult time and feeling _______ (insert feelings/thoughts they spoke of), how can I support you?”

2. Never diagnose: The only person who can diagnose someone is a mental health clinician who is working with the patient. It is never our job to diagnose and tell the person what they may be experiencing. Instead, note the observable signs/symptoms you notice or that they have told you and give them space to process what is going on. “You said you cannot sleep and are having racing thoughts. When did you notice you started experiencing this?”

3. Avoid problem solving or imposing our own experiences: It is in our nature to provide support and often tell our own story to connect with the person. Instead, ask “Have you talked with a mental health counselor or someone about what’s been going on?”

4. Whether they have someone or not, connecting them to resources is always helpful. Remember there is no limit on the amount of resources we may need. Someone might need a therapist and be seeing someone for wellness coaching and be talking to someone else about their alcohol use. Use all of the available resources. Ask “Do you know about some of the DePaul resources or community resources that are available to you?”

If you are unsure of all the resources, connect them to someone in Health Promotion and Wellness – we will connect them to all the available resources at DePaul and in the community.

5. Provide continuous support: This can look different based on your relationship with the person but regardless of your relationship, you can always follow up with the person and offer continuous support. Say, “Hey, it’s good to see you, how are you doing?”

6. If they talk about death, dying or suicide, (Example: ‘I don’t have a purpose or want to live”), ask them directly “Are you thinking of killing yourself or Are you having thoughts of suicide?” Asking won’t put the idea in their head, but it will give them the space to process and hopefully answer.

7. Talk about other ways to support their health and well-being like support systems (friendships/family), self-care practices and daily activities that care for themselves. Ask: “What do you do to take care of your health and well-being?”

We are all in this together to Take Care of Ourselves, Take Care of Each Other and Take Care DePaul.

If you have questions or concerns about helping a friend or providing support, reach out to