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Opening up about your Mental Health

Updated: Feb 8

Unfortunately still in 2021 there is a stigma around the topic of mental health and mental health diagnosis', this stigma can understandably make it difficult for individuals who are struggling with mental health to open up and feel they can discuss this freely with others, some individuals may even fear their own safety and well being if they openly discuss the topic of their mental health.

Its important to remember that mental health is just an extension of your general health as a human and we all have it! For example, if you fell and fractured your wrist you wouldn't necessarily question whether to openly discuss this physical injury with others, so why if experience a difficult period of time in our life which can lead us to feel anxious, stressed or depressed do we question whether we should openly discuss this with other human beings who also will experience these feelings at some point in their life?

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, if you aren't feeling 100% physically you most likely won't perform your best that day or that week, just the same as if you aren't feeling 100% mentally you also probably will not perform your best. If you suddenly feel under the weather physically you might give yourself some time off work to recover or you might visit the doctor to get checked out, yet often individuals who might be feeling a little under the weather mentally often struggle on without giving themselves that time to recover or don't openly speak to a healthcare professional about it.

Unfortunately until this stigma shifts it will make it difficult for individuals to openly speak out about their mental health, but until then I have compiled some tips to help individuals hopefully feel a little more comfortable when approaching this topic of conversation.

Start by approaching someone you have a good relationship with or someone you trust: for example, this person may be a family member, friend, significant other, teacher, work colleague, or a healthcare professional such as a GP, therapist or Psychologist.

If you find face to face too intimidating start with a text: this tip was recommended by Mental Health America- Time to Talk, they suggested a simple text message such as: "I have some important things on my mind and need to make time to talk to you about them", they also provided a template for an email or letter which you can check out here.

Practice what you want to say: Mind recommended making some notes or practicing what you wish to say to your chosen person in your head. This can help you to remember the important stuff and might ease some initial worry if you create a 'script'.

Be as honest as you can be: You have done the difficult part now so use this time to really be as honest as you can be with this person, it might also help them to understand your experiences a little more.

Suggest some things they can do to help (if you can): Before the conversation have a think about what they could do to help you, this could be helping you find some professional support, helping you talk to school, university or work or even just being there for you. By offering reasonable suggestions for them will help both of you come up with a positive outcome of the conversation.

Expect that they also might need some time to understand and reflect on the conversation: understanding mental health problems can be difficult if you are not the one who is experiencing them at that time, so don't expect that everything will be 'fixed' straight away. The person might need to research further in order to support you, but if possible, as recommended by Mind arrange a time to come back to this conversation with them.

For further information on how to open up about mental health you can visit the referenced sources here:


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