We’re told time and time again that talking about mental health is fundamental as a first step to recovery. But talking about mental health isn’t as easy as just telling someone to do it. So here are a few ways to open up the conversation about mental health, whether it’s to help yourself to open up or encourage a friend to do so.
Send a text
Whether you’re feeling uneasy about opening up to someone about your own mental health, or you want to encourage a friend to talk more easily about their own, speaking face to face isn’t always easy. Talking about mental health can feel awkward and sometimes stigma can make you feel like you’re confessing to something that should be kept private.
To help break up the awkwardness try sending a text. If you’re wanting to tell someone about your mental health, it can be easier to write down what you want to say to someone and you can take time to get your message across.
If you want to find out how someone else is doing then just ask. A simple ‘How are you doing today?’ is enough to get the conversation flowing. And you don’t have to deal with any uncomfortable eye contact if you’re feeling anxious.
Go for a walk
Is there anything worse than wanting to talk about something you feel nervous about and having to sit across from that person and look them right in the eye? No, there isn’t. Suggest going for a walk so that you can have a more comfortable conversation.
It’s easy to change the subject because there are plenty of distractions and everything feels better in the fresh air, doesn’t it?
If you’re wanting to encourage a friend to talk about their mental health but don’t know how, then try talking about your own experiences. Even if you don’t have direct experience with a mental health disorder, then chances are that you know someone who does or you have some experience of it.
You’ll make your friend feel so much more comfortable if they know you can empathise. The likelihood is that they just want someone to listen, they’re not looking for answers from you.
Have you ever tried to open up to a friend about your mental health? What would have helped you? Let me know in the comments!