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Time to talk about mental health
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?”
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.
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?
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