Talking about mental health isn’t always easy but these tips can help to start the conversation…
There are lots of reasons why talking about your mental health can be difficult or scary. You might fear judgement or worry that you could lose friends. You may feel embarrassed about your mental health struggles or anxious that people just won’t ‘get it’. People who are having difficulties with their mental health have enough to be dealing with without the added burden of being discriminated against. That’s why it’s so important to normalise talking about mental health – the more discussions we have, the easier it is to talk openly and honestly about our own individual struggles and problems.
I Need To Talk About My Mental Health
If you feel like you want to reach out for support but don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. Starting the conversation is often the hardest part but these simple openers can help you make your first step:
- “I’m not OK and I need help with my mental health”
- “I’m really struggling at the moment. Can I talk to you about it?”
- “I really need someone to talk to. I’m not OK.
If verbalising your struggles fills you with anxiety, there’s always the written word. You can send a text, message, or write a letter instead. Or you could record a voice note in the privacy of your own bedroom – this reduces the pressure of saying the ‘right’ thing in the moment. It can also help to write down how you’ve been feeling and why it’s affecting your daily life. Do what feels right for you. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to opening up about your own struggles. Get more advice about how to ask for help here.
How To Talk To Someone About Their Mental Health
Worried about someone else? If you suspect someone you know is having a hard time, reach out. Don’t wait for them to come to you. It can be difficult to know what to do or what to say and you might worry that you’re being intrusive but asking someone if they’re OK is never wrong. It shows the other person you care and reminds them that they’re not alone. Discover more about why talking is good for mental health here.
Choose your moment. Pick a time when there are no distractions and make sure the other person is as relaxed and comfortable as possible. You could begin by saying, “I’ve noticed you don’t seem yourself recently and I wanted to check in to see how you’re doing. Is everything OK? Is there anything I can help with?”
Give the other person time and space to talk at their own pace. Maintain eye contact to let them know that you are listening and ask gentle but supportive questions to encourage them to talk. You could ask:
- “And how does that make you feel?”
- “Is there anything I can do to lessen the burden/help you get the support you need?”
- “I can come with you to the doctor if you’d like?”
Always take someone seriously if they say they’re having suicidal thoughts. It can be incredibly difficult to hear these words but try to stay calm and seek help. Call 999 if you think a person is in immediate danger. Keep talking to the person and encourage them to tell you how they’re feeling. People who feel suicidal often feel a huge sense of relief when they admit how they’re feeling to someone else. If they’re not an immediate threat to their own safety, try to encourage them to call their doctor to get help. Ask for help from other adults, too, such as family members or friends. You can also suggest they call The Samaritans on 116 123 if they’d prefer to talk to someone they don’t know.