The World Health Organisation defines mental health as: A state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community
When you struggle with mental health, the first step to feeling better is finding a way to talk about how you’re feeling. For many of us, this can be a difficult task. Even the idea of approaching someone for a chat can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Below are some ideas to consider that might help you approach someone and feel comfortable opening up to them about your mental health.
Talking about feelings is sometimes seen as a weakness. Opening up about how you feel is a part of you taking charge of your mental health. It can be a way of coping and managing your struggles. Talking about your problems can make you feel relieved and unburdened.
How to Begin
Ensure there is enough time to have an in-depth conversation, allowing at least 30 minutes or more. Start with a text message if a face-to-face conversation is too intimidating. Gather together a few key points that you would like to communicate, as this will help reduce anxiety levels about having this conversation. Research information about your struggles as this can help to clarify your thoughts and make the conversation easier.
What to expect
It is not unusual that you might feel awkward at first. After a few minutes, you might notice relaxing into the conversation. You might feel relieved that you are not alone in your struggles. You might discover that the person you talked to has some experience with mental health or knows somebody who is also struggling or recovering from mental health issues.
It is always helpful to prepare yourself for a situation when you won’t feel heard and understood. Sometimes the person you are talking to might not have experience in mental health issues. As a result, you might feel alone with your problem. It is important to remember that it is not your fault.
The person you’re talking with might seek some information to get a better insight into your situation. It might be helpful to remember that they’re asking questions because they would like to help you.
Opening up to a trusted other is the first step towards improving your mental health. After your conversation, take some time to think about what you spoke about and what key points you found helpful.
You might consider talking to your family members like parents, siblings, or your life partner. There are also professional counseling and psychotherapy services available. It might be worth researching and inform yourself about the options available.
Improving your mental health is a process and takes time. Make sure you are patient and kind with yourself while working on your mental wellness. Mental health issues are common, and it is possible to overcome them. It might take you some time to identify and find the supports that are effective for you, but in the end, it will be worth your effort.
Zevo Health offers mental health training, all of which have been created by Wellbeing Specialists. These trainings range from positive mental wellbeing to becoming a mental health champion.