The power of talking
The benefits of talking not only help us share what is on our minds, it is the first step to getting better. Without talking about the issue, how can you get help? Of course, not all of us are in the position to talk to our loved ones or colleagues, which is where counselling can be an option. Yes, we’re encouraging everyone to talk about mental health, but for some of us, it’s not so simple. Counselling is a place to talk about what you’re feeling or experiencing, without the fear of judgement or shame. It is a private, safe space for you to speak about whatever you want, to someone who will listen. Counsellor and psychotherapist, Teresa Mulvena explains more about how talking can help. “It is a bit of a mysterious process, but saying things out loud to another person can feel like a tremendous relief, and feels completely different from the thoughts going around in your head,” she says. “There is something about the process of speaking about issues that feel very different.”Why is it OK for us to talk about our physical aches and pains, but not our mental struggles?
How to start a conversationWhether you want to talk to someone about your mental health, or because you’re worried about someone else, starting the conversation often is the hardest. The first thing to do, is to ensure you are somewhere you are both comfortable - this may be in a coffee shop, your home or perhaps even on a walk. If you’re worried about a friend or colleague, you can start with a simple, How are you feeling today? or Are you OK? It may seem like the smallest thing, but this may be the first time in a long time that someone has asked. This gives them the opportunity to talk openly. If you are wanting to ask for help, or talk about something you’re going through, it’s important you speak to someone you trust. Send them a quick message or ask if they’re available to talk. Be honest and tell them how you feel. If you need them to help you, tell them and thank them for listening to what you have to say. Know that the hardest part is over. For some people, the topic of mental health can be quite overwhelming, which is why we are working to raise awareness and promote conversation. Be sure to take it slow, and one step at a time. They may not be ready to talk to you about how they feel, but knowing you are there for them can really help. Same goes if you’re the one asking for help, know they may not have all the answers, but ask them to be there for you. Knowing you have someone to speak to when things get difficult can make the journey much easier. For more tips and advice on how to talk about mental health, visit Time to Change.
ResourcesWe know how daunting it can be, approaching the subject of mental health. Whether you’re worried about someone or wanting to ask for help yourself, having the right information and support available can be incredibly helpful. Below is a list of resources, which we hope will make the first conversation about mental health easier. Worried about someone else? - If you’re worried about someone else’s mental health, it’s important to do what you can to help. Here we explain what you can do when worried about someone else, including spotting the signs of a problem and suggestions on what to say. Workplace well-being - According to Mind, the mental health charity, at least one in six workers are experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Employee well-being is, thankfully, becoming more of a focus in organisations. Campaigns and policies are sprouting in companies, in an attempt to ensure workers are happy in employment. Here you can learn more about the importance of workplace well-being and what to do if you’re an employer. Facts and figures - Here you can find facts and figures on mental health in Britain, as well as information and data on talking therapy, and the future of mental health services.
- It’s OK to ask for help
- What to do if you’re worried about a friend
- Supporting a friend with depression
- Supporting a friend with bipolar disorder
- How to support a grieving friend
Personal experiencesWhen you’re going through a difficult time, you may feel quite isolated and alone. Mental health affects us all, yet because of the stigma and much misunderstanding, when you’re struggling, it can seem like you are the only person who feels that way. The thing is, there are people who know what you’re going through, and have made it through the other side. Real stories, written by real people can be not only eye-opening and informative, but they can provide a sense of support and compassion to someone who may be going through a similar situation. The person writing the story can also benefit - writing, like talking, can be incredibly effective in relieving stress and expressing how you feel.
- Peter: The conversation that changed my life
- Chris: Challenging mental health stigma by walking and talking
- Stacey: Growing up with OCD
- Beth: I have anxiety. But that is not who I am
- Carrie: My journey to diagnosis with CFS/ME
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