How to Talk About Mental Health

Though talking about mental health may seem uncomfortable or awkward at first, it’s essential that we as a society begin to change the narrative and discusss this issue that effects so many in so many ways. It’s time to strip away the stigma around mental health and find ways to create an open dialogue that leads to progress rather than bottled up emotion. Here are a few ways to talk about mental health:

 

  1. Build a Support System: The people around you, who impact your life on a day to day basis are essential in talking about mental health. It’s important to examine who in your circle lifts you up, and who tears you down. Anybody who mocks mental health, or who isn’t willing to discuss your problems with you should indicate that reevaluation is necessary in regards to who you are depending on. Value those who care, and work to build a community around yourself with people who you love and trust.
  2. Be Active in Decisions About Treatment: If you’ve expressed any mental health issues you’ve been having to family or friends, be active in the decisions that are going to be made about how to get better. It is important that you recognize you have a voice and that you join the dialogue of what needs to be done. Rather than rely on others, do your best to vocalize what you have been going through in order to find the best way possible to overcome it.
  3. Listen: This is the most critical point. It is incredibly hard for people to open up regarding mental health, and it takes enormous amount of courage to do so. So rather than brush something that somebody tells you off as unimportant or not urgent, you must listen. Listen with an open mind and an open heart and, though it may be hard, try your best to process and understand what somebody is going through. Also remember that if somebody chooses to tell you about their mental health, they likely trust you deeply and see you as strong force in their life. So live up to that idea, pay attention, listen and be there.

 

If you or somebody you love is struggling with mental illness or suicidal thoughts, you can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255

Shauna Willetts