Starting the conversation by Rebecca French, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at steps2change

Published on: 27th January 2023

Expressing how we are feeling can be uncomfortable when it comes to addressing our mental health. We need to remember that our emotional and psychological wellbeing is extremely important and impacts so many other areas in our life, such as our routine may alter, or we may start to avoid certain situations and places.  

There are many ways to open up about our mental health from having simple conversations with family, friends, or colleagues to reaching out to a local community or service that specialises in mental health support. Below is some information on who and how to approach those people and services around you.

Here are some useful tips to make sure you’re approaching it in a supportive way:

  • 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?”.
  • Think about the time and place: 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!
  • 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.
  • Treat them the same: 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.
  • 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.

How you can help towards making a change on Time to Talk Day by reaching out to people:

If you are still feeling uncomfortable about talking to a family member, friend, or colleague, there are local services that can help in Lincolnshire:

  • Night Light Cafes: These are safe spaces that offer out-of-hours, non-clinical support service and are staffed by teams of trained volunteers. They can also provide signposting advice and information on other organisations that may be able to help with specific needs, such as debt advice or emergency food parcels. 
  • Lincolnshire Mental Health helpline: A 24/7 service for adults in Lincolnshire for confidential support around low mood, anxiety or stress on 0800 0014 331
  • Here4You: A 24/7 service for young people and parents/carers in Lincolnshire for support around mental health on 0800 234 6342
  • Steps2change: Lincolnshire’s talking therapy for people aged 16 years and older. You can self-refer by calling 0303 123 4000 or complete an online referral form: or refer via your GP.
  • Lincolnshire Mental Health Advisor Helpline: An advice line for those supporting people with their mental health. Tel: 0303 123 4000 available 24 hours.

Are you maybe not ready to talk, but wanting to engage in some self-help around mental health:

  • How are You (HAY) Lincolnshire: This only went live on 16/01/23 and it’s a new online resource for people struggling with their mental health or wellbeing which offers a wealth of information, including a guide to local groups and support, as well as signposting to self-help:
  • Lincolnshire Recovery College: This offers free educational courses on mental health and wellbeing, to anyone aged 16+

There are other nationwide services that can help outside of Lincolnshire too and here are just some that are available:

  • Samaritans – This is a listening service that can be contacted by telephone and e-mail. They are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Telephone (free): 116 123; Email:; 
  • Shout – Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. Text: 85258
  • Papyrus – Support for people under 35 who are struggling – and people who are worried about someone under 35. Helpline is open between 2pm-10pm on bank holidays and weekends. Telephone: 0800 068 41 41; Email:
  • The Silver Line helpline– This is aimed at people over 55. The Silver Line operates the only confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK. Open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Telephone: 0800 4 70 80 90.
  • CALM (Campaign against Living Miserably) – This is aimed specifically at men. Their helpline is open between 5pm and midnight every day of the year. Telephone: 0800 068 41 41.

Finally, we just wanted to remind everyone that sadly thoughts of not wanting to be here are a symptom of challenging mental health so if you or someone reaching out is at risk of harming themself or someone else and in need of urgent/emergency support, please contact:

  • Your GP
  • Lincolnshire Crisis Team - 0303 123 4000 (24 hours a day).
  • Telephone 999 as a matter of urgency to ensure their safety and/or safety of others.

Alternatively, you can call 111 if:

  • You need medical help fast but it is not a 999 emergency
  • You think you need an NHS Urgent Care Service
  • You don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP
  • You need health information or reassurance on what to do next

On a closing note, remember conversations have the power to change lives by helping to create supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we need it.

Just taking some small steps to open up could be the best thing you do for yourself or could make a big difference to someone else’s life.