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Navigating Conversations About Mental Wellbeing #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Our Mental wellbeing is a very important aspect of our overall health. Sometimes, it can be hard to put how we’re feeling into words or have the courage to talk to someone about it, even with those closest to us. In fact, a survey conducted by the UK's National Health Service (NHS) found that around 30% of adults found it difficult to discuss mental health with family and friends. More often than not, it may be that the other person needs to make the first step to encourage our loved ones to talk about their feelings.

two people sitting on a sofa talking
mental wellbeing conversation at home

In support of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, here are some things to consider before broaching the subject:

Start with empathy and understanding

When discussing mental health with someone, it is essential to come from a place of empathy and understanding. It is important to acknowledge that mental health issues are common, and anyone can experience them. Make sure that the person feels heard and that you are genuinely interested in their feelings, and that their feelings are valid.

Choose the right time and place

It is essential to choose the right time and place to have these conversations. Make sure that the person is in a comfortable setting where they feel safe to express themselves. Avoid having the conversation in public or in a crowded environment where there may be distractions or interruptions.

Use supportive language

The words we choose can have a significant impact on the way a conversation is perceived. It is essential to use supportive language that encourages the person to open up and share their feelings. Avoid using negative language or language that may make the person feel defensive and result in them choosing not to open up.

Encourage open and honest communication

Encourage the person to express their feelings and thoughts openly and honestly. It is essential to listen without judgement and allow the person to feel heard. Let them know that you are there to support them.

Educate yourself on mental health

Educating yourself about mental health can help you to understand the struggles that people with mental health issues face. It can also help you to provide support and advice that is informed and helpful.

Offer support and resources

Offering support and resources can be incredibly helpful for someone struggling with mental health issues. This could include providing them with information about local support groups, therapists, or other mental health professionals. Additionally, offer practical support, such as cooking meals, doing household chores, or providing transportation to appointments. You can find an array of groups and support services on our website:

Encourage professional help

If you believe that someone is struggling with a mental health issue, it is important to encourage them to seek professional help. This could be in the form of a therapist, counsellor, or other mental health professional. Encourage the person to seek help as soon as possible, as early intervention can often lead to better outcomes.

In conclusion, talking about mental health with family and friends can be challenging, but it is important to approach these conversations with empathy and understanding. Choosing the right time and place, using supportive language, encouraging open and honest communication, educating yourself about mental health, offering support and resources, and encouraging professional help are all crucial steps in discussing mental health with loved ones. Remember to be patient, supportive, and non-judgmental throughout the process. Even just talking about our feelings out loud can make a world of difference.

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