Published on: 3rd February 2022
Time to Talk Day is all about creating supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health. We all have mental health and by talking about it we can support ourselves and others.
We want everyone to feel comfortable talking about mental health – whenever they like. Talking about mental health is important because it helps to reduce stigma and create supportive communities where we can talk openly and feel empowered to seek help when we need it. There is no shame in struggling with your mental health or accessing support.
Sometimes we can see that someone in our lives is struggling but we are unsure on how to approach them. That person may not be ready to talk yet or they may be waiting for someone to reach out to them. Below are some tips on how to start a conversation with someone about their mental wellbeing.
Top tips for starting a conversation about mental health
- Ask questions and listen. Give them the time, focus and safe space to share how they feel or just have a general chat.
- Don't try and fix it or judge their choices. Empathise with what they are going through and let them know you are there for them anytime.
- Be patient. Some people may not be ready to talk about how they are feeling. They will appreciate knowing you are thinking of them.
- Think about the time and place. Choose a situation which is relaxed and make sure you are somewhere private so the person knows they are speaking to you in confidence. You could try talking while doing something else to make it less formal or scary, such as while on a walk or playing a game together.
- Be able to signpost the person to support if they need it and would like to speak to someone else. This could be a trusted adult such as a parent or teacher, or NHS support services listed on our website here.
- Sharing your own feelings and experiences may also encourage someone to open up if they feel they are in a safe space and can be understood.
You could ask open questions
- Is there anything you would like to talk about?
- How are you feeling at the moment?
- Is there anything I can do to help?
- I have noticed that you don’t seem yourself lately, is everything okay?
We hope that these tips have been helpful and have encouraged you to start more conversations about mental health. If you are really concerned about a friend or loved one, then it is a good idea to talk to a trusted adult about it to make sure they can get the support they need to feel better.