Caption: Two people talking about their mental health
It can be really difficult to talk about your feelings with friends or family. It's very common to feel worried about upsetting people you care about, and feel nervous about what people will think about you, or how it might affect your relationships with people.
We are all different
You may feel much more comfortable opening up to friends or family rather than professionals (GP, Counsellor, Support Worker etc.), or you may find it easier to approach a professional (such as your doctor) first. There's no right or wrong way round, but the important thing is not to suffer alone – talk about your mental health and seek help. The people closest to us can often be a valuable source of support, and it can feel good to share and talk through a problem.
Whenever you feel ready to talk, these tips below might help you start the conversation:
Find a method of communication that you feel comfortable with which feels right for you. This might be a face-to-face conversation, a video call or you might find it easier to talk on the phone or write down how you feel in an email or letter.
Find a suitable time and place. There may not be a 'good' time, but it can help if you're somewhere quiet and comfortable, and are unlikely to be disturbed for a while and things can be kept confidential.
Practice what you want to say beforehand. You could do this in your head or even make some notes on key points. Phrases such as "I've not been feeling like myself lately" or "I'm finding it hard to cope at the moment" might provide a starting point.
Offer them relevant information and examples. If you've found a useful description in a book or online, or seen someone on television or in a film saying something that feels right to you, you could use this to help explain what you're experiencing.
Be honest and open. It can sometimes feel uncomfortable sharing something so personal, but explaining how your feelings are affecting your life may help others to understand.
Suggest things they could do to help you. This might just be listening and offering emotional support – or there may be practical help you need (such as making/attending a GP appointment, support with shopping or work or other commitments).
Don't expect too much from one conversation. Understanding mental health problems can take time, and some people may be shocked by this or react badly at first. It's important to give them some time to process what you've told them. But if possible, plan to come back to the conversation with them again, to give you more opportunities to explain what you're going through.
A positive distraction
Never under estimate the power a conversation can have with someone, making time to do this and to socialise with others can be hugely beneficial to ours and other peoples mental health. Even talking about hobbies, interests or generally socialising can be a great distraction from negative thoughts and can help you feel connected to others. It’s also very mindful to be in the now the present moment and to really engage with others in conversation.
Help is out there - For support
Speak to your GP, or 111 or care team for professional guidance, or consider accessing counselling or Mind and NHS website also If you need support we are here to help you, please visit our services page or phone 01325 283169 or 07572 888084 email: firstname.lastname@example.org