- Keep a caring atmosphere in your apartment
- Look for emotional or verbal warning signs
- Offer support with love and kindness
- Get help if needed
Apartment Atmosphere Matters
An apartment is more than just a place to sleep and store your stuff. Your apartment can be a home where warmth and friendship strengthen every roommate and offers support.
When you create a caring atmosphere at home, you can strengthen the mental well-being of all roommates. Positive human connection makes it easier to prevent potential mental health concerns.
Mental Illness Warning Signs
Become aware of your roommates’ behaviors by looking for emotional markers or verbal signs that might suggest he or she is suffering from a mental health concern.
Your roommate might be suffering with deep emotional pain if he or she experiences:
- Feelings of depression
- Lack of interest in favorite activities
- Mood swings
- Crying for no reason
- Impulsive behaviors
- Sleeps too much
- Tries to avoid others
- Lack of personal care or hygiene
- Poor academic performance or resistance to anything school-related
Roommates with mental health issues might make unusual comments such as:
- Feeling like they have no purpose
- Immense feelings of shame
- Feeling like a burden
- Wishing they did not exist
- Desire to hurt themselves or end their lives
- Over expression to harm themselves
For example, a roommate might say, “What is the point for me being here?” or “I want to fall asleep and never wake up” or “Life would be better without me.”
For more information about possible mental health warning signs, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Offer Support for Your Struggling Roommate
If you see any physical or verbal issues arise, it is important to ask direct questions without judgment or interruption. Example questions might include:
- “You seem like you’re having a hard time. Do you feel alone or depressed?”
- “You seem sad. Can you share with me why?”
- “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”
Create an atmosphere of open communication by having apartment traditions, being patient, understanding, kind, and willing to openly discuss interests and concerns. Withhold judgment, especially when someone appears stressed, anxious, irritable, depressed, or withdrawn.
Keep in mind that the most important thing you can do for your roommate is to build and strengthen your friendship with your roommate by letting him or her know that you care. Show genuine concern and get help if needed.
Get Help for Your Roommate
When you have a roommate suffering with mental health concerns, get help. The sooner your roommate gets help, the faster he or she can return to a healthy life.
"If you reach out in a spirit of love and humility, you can help the spiritually wounded. . . . If you need to, talk to your bishop, call the Dean of Students, tell someone who can do something that you have a friend in trouble. Don't be silent. Don't leave the wounded on the battlefield!"
Mental Health Resources
If the situation is life-threatening, call 911