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Time to talk about mental health

Jimm_Scope
Jimm_Scope Posts: 2,361 Scope online community team
edited February 3 in Coffee lounge

Time to Talk Day

 

The first Thursday of February is also Time to Talk Day. Now, we have just passed it but I felt like it would be a good thing to talk about with the community 😊

 

It’s an awareness day for us all to start discussing mental health. It’s not an easy subject to bring up for many. I know I often need prompting to discuss my own mental health, but doing so has helped change my life for the better.

There are so many different ways you can take part and help make talking about mental health more acceptable in your community.

 


 [Alt Text: The words "It's ALLLL good!" in quotation marks followed by 'Sometimes means I'm stressed and burned out' implying they may be hiding their true feelings. Time to Talk day is the perfect opportunity to start a conversation about mental health. ]

Tips for discussing mental health

Mental health can be a difficult subject to not only bring up, but respond to. Time to Talk Day have given some tips to help make sure it’s being approached  in a positive manner.

 

1. Ask questions and listen

Asking questions can give the person space to express how they’re feeling and what they’re going through, and it will help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgmental, like “how does that affect you?” or “what does it feel like?”

2. Think about the time and place

Sometimes it’s easier to talk side by side rather than face to face. So, if you do talk in person, you might want to chat while you are doing something else. You could start a conversation when you’re walking, cooking or stuck in traffic. However, don’t let the search for the perfect place put you off!

3. Don't try and fix it

It can be hard to see someone you care about having a difficult time but try to resist the urge to offer quick fixes to what they’re going through. Learning to manage or recover from a mental health problem can be a long journey, and they’ve likely already considered lots of different tools and strategies. Just talking can be really powerful, so unless they’ve asked for advice directly, it might be best just to listen.

4. Treat them the same

When someone has a mental health problem, they’re still the same person as they were before. And that means when a friend or loved one opens up about mental health, they don’t want to be treated any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you’d normally do. 

5. Be patient

No matter how hard you try, some people might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through. That’s ok – the fact that you’ve tried to talk to them about it may make it easier for them to open up another time.

 


[Alt text: the words "Yeah, getting by..." in quotation marks followed by 'sometimes means I worry about paying my bills', implying they are hiding their actual feelings.]


You don’t have to just do these things in person of course! There are many people who find it easier to discuss their mental health over text, such as on this community. I think this community has shown some wonderful examples about how important it is to talk about your mental health, even if it’s just to other people online.

It’s personally something very close to home for me. As I already mentioned it was something I really struggled with in the past, and talking about it over text to people online was a much lower barrier for me. Eventually it helped me talk about it in person to people close to me as well.

 

I’d like to hear the experiences and thoughts of our community members on this topic.


What about you?

Do you struggle to talk about mental health, whether it’s your own or someone else?

What do you find makes it easier to talk about mental health?

How has talking about your mental health affected you in the past?


They/Them, however they are no wrong pronouns with me so whatever you feel most comfortable with
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Comments

  • Jimm_Scope
    Jimm_Scope Posts: 2,361 Scope online community team

    If you are currently struggling with mental health please look at our advice section regarding mental health, including:

    -       Managing your mental health

    -       Benefits and mental health

    -       Managing stress at work

    -       Managing stress when caring for your disabled child

     

     

    If you are worried about another community member here is what you need to do.

     

    There are also mental health charities that offer advice and support. Here are a few:

    -       Mind

    -       Mental Health Foundation

    -       YoungMinds

    -       Rethink Mental Illness

    -       Anxiety UK

    You can also speak to someone over the phone and online about your mental health:

    -       Samaritans: call 116 123 or email [email protected]

    -       SHOUT: Text SHOUT to 85258 if you’d prefer speaking to a trained volunteer over text

    -       CALM: run a live chat from 5pm-midnight

    In an emergency

    If you feel unable to keep yourself safe, or are worried about someone else, you should call 999 or visit A&E immediately.


    They/Them, however they are no wrong pronouns with me so whatever you feel most comfortable with
    Online Community Specialist

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us. 
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    Opinions are my own, such as mashed potato being bad.
  • WhatThe
    WhatThe Community member, Scope Member Posts: 900 Pioneering

    Jimm, I have definitely found my voice on this forum, thank you. 

    it will help you to understand their experience better 

    Yes if that person wants to share for their benefit not just because you want to know! Some people ask provocative questions, some ask inappropriate questions and these can be interpreted as interest or concern when it's no such thing. 

    Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgmental, like “how does that affect you?” or “what does it feel like?”

    I would close up to questions like that unless it was a counsellor asking me.  


  • Jimm_Scope
    Jimm_Scope Posts: 2,361 Scope online community team
    WhatThe said:


    Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgmental, like “how does that affect you?” or “what does it feel like?”

    I would close up to questions like that unless it was a counsellor asking me.  


    I can definitely understand having that reaction. I don't think these tips are something that will work in every situation and for every person, but I do think if someone really doesn't know how to respond they are a good starting point. 

    For me and my partner it was a learning experience talking to each other about our mental health. You learn what works for the person you're talking to and then apply it. It also shows you're actually listening to them as well.
    They/Them, however they are no wrong pronouns with me so whatever you feel most comfortable with
    Online Community Specialist

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us. 
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    Opinions are my own, such as mashed potato being bad.
  • Grinchy
    Grinchy Community member Posts: 1,764 Disability Gamechanger
    so sorry you went through all that @Ada, i hope your in a better place now
    For me mental health is difficult, i suffer with anxiety and complex PTSD, intrusive thoughts and night terrors, after suffering physical and sexual abuse at the hands of my parents, i wish i could just switch of those negative thoughts etc that plaque me, but i can't, i do talk with my wife, that helps, i need more counselling but can't face it at the moment, sending best wishes to all those who are suffering x 
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community member Posts: 15,900 Disability Gamechanger
    Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgmental, like “how does that affect you?” or “what does it feel like?”
    I might be reading this wrong, but to me such questioning is almost leading in asking you to define how it affects you/feels. It should be left to the person with any disability, physical/mental to disclose just as much as they feel comfortable with at any point in time. I think 'listening' is way more important.
    I'm a great believer in that mind & body are inextricably entwined, & those with 'just' physical problems may also be affected. I don't know how many times I've read that such & such a physical disorder is associated with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, etc., when perhaps a simple explanation is that it's taken patients years until they were believed by the medical community, & eventually got diagnosed, but it's impacted on their mental health. Then look at those who suffer 'chronic pain,' understandably this can also impact on a person's mental health.
    It's indeed derogatory @Ada for anyone to not acknowledge the disorder you have (my ex wouldn't acknowledge our son was 'next door to Asperger Syndrome' as he just didn't want to think there was anything the matter with him.....totally wrong attitude; our son sees things differently; he has strengths because of this, but also has difficulties).
    Think I'm older than you Ada, but not necessarily wiser, as I consider I'm learning all the time. Talking about the difficulties you face is never easy, & I don't say much about some of those I've faced due to problems I've had on the forum in the thankfully distant past, only when I feel it will may really help. It certainly takes time to trust others, but I know the vast majority of members here are incredibly supportive, & we do indeed learn from one another whatever our problems.
    Totally agree, I hope, my favourite quote being that of the Dalai Lama, 'Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.'
  • WhatThe
    WhatThe Community member, Scope Member Posts: 900 Pioneering

    The words MENTAL HEALTH are no longer taboo but a lot of people won't accept that it applies to them, that it's part of the human condition. 

    The word mental is still casually used as a slur.

    We don't hear "Oh she's physical that one!"


  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 11,329 Disability Gamechanger
    My mental health has been shocking over the last 12 months even though I am on medication, my vision problems have really got to me as have the problems we are having with our son (he's 40 soon), I did try counselling again in the summer but didn't find it much use just didn't gel with the counsellor I suppose, I know I need to speak to my GP and get my meds changed and will when I "get round to it".

    I know my epilepsy is at the root of my depression, apparently like many chronic health conditions it doesn't help.

    I hate feeling sorry for myself but I always feel that others are worse off than I am in many ways.
    2024 The year of the general election...the time for change is coming 💡

  • JessieJ
    JessieJ Community member Posts: 418 Pioneering
    I'm not a talker, can't talk, so I don't let people know how bad I am & nobody knows, I just hide it.
  • Grinchy
    Grinchy Community member Posts: 1,764 Disability Gamechanger
    Sorry you can't talk @JessieJ, i hope you find a way to battle through your problems, @woodbine, i hope you get sorted to, And thanks @Ada, mental health problems are hard to deal with its hard to escape your own mind when its working against you, i pray we all find relief, 
  • WhatThe
    WhatThe Community member, Scope Member Posts: 900 Pioneering

    Ada, it's easy to do when it's a subject you know so much about because when trauma is firmly imbedded, it never leaves you.

    It's good to talk but it can leave us feeling quite exposed and raw. Feel better soon.  

  • Ada
    Ada Scope Member Posts: 11,585 Disability Gamechanger
    I live with Asperger syndrome. I’ve lived with it for over 60yrs. I see the word Autistic as a UMBRELLA word.
    I am not using the word Asperger to offend anyone. Even though I was told twice now by the same person it’s wrong
     I will not be ashamed to say it. 
    Unless there is a law against it. It’s what I live with. And have done for over sixty years 
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community member Posts: 15,900 Disability Gamechanger
    I have never said that the term Asperger's Syndrome is 'wrong.' I'd agree that saying someone is on the autistic spectrum is an example of a medical 'umbrella' term, as is say dementia, & my own disorder Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, as in we're all (with our respective disorders) under the same diagnostic 'umbrella,' tho may be affected very differently.
    I have said on several occasions that my son's neuropsychologist wouldn't officially diagnose him some 18 years ago, but if there's so called 'normal' at one end of the spectrum, & autism at the other, said he was next door to Asperger's.
    I have used that term in the past year or more when it's been used here, & for no other reason.
    If you look on the National Autistic Society's website (which I have linked to previously), then you'll see that the term 'Asperger Syndrome' is no longer officially used, nor diagnosed as such, & it's now considered part of the autism spectrum disorder. Please see:https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/what-is-autism/the-history-of-autism/asperger-syndrome
    There's nothing the matter with a person continuing to say they have Asperger's Syndrome, & I've never said otherwise.

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 11,329 Disability Gamechanger
    I consider myself to be a "person with epilepsy" but most insist on saying I'm "epileptic", maybe we shouldn't get too hung up with labels?
    2024 The year of the general election...the time for change is coming 💡

  • WhatThe
    WhatThe Community member, Scope Member Posts: 900 Pioneering

     if there's so called 'normal' at one end of the spectrum, & autism at the other, said he was next door to Asperger's.

    There is no 'normal' at either end of the autistic spectrum nor anywhere in between!

    Time to talk about mental health means time to talk about your mental health doesn't it? 
     

  • WhatThe
    WhatThe Community member, Scope Member Posts: 900 Pioneering

    woodbine, the autistic identity matters very much 
  • Agnia
    Agnia Community member Posts: 830 Connected
    i was called mental and other abusive words which was very traumatic for me 
  • Ada
    Ada Scope Member Posts: 11,585 Disability Gamechanger
    I am sorry to @Grinchy for deleting my post. But I felt I had given to much of myself away. And felt unsafe. 
  • Grinchy
    Grinchy Community member Posts: 1,764 Disability Gamechanger
    Hey @Ada, no problem at all, i hope your doing better, thanks for sharing your story x

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