Time to Talk Day is an annual event that is organised by Time to Change. The campaign aims to raise awareness about mental health and encourage people to have open and honest conversations about mental health issues.
1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue at some point. Therefore, it’s crucial to have open discussions about mental health. By talking about mental health, we can challenge negative stereotypes, strengthen relationships, support those who are struggling, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues, which can impact anyone.
Talking about mental health can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable either. Simply being there for someone and starting a conversation can make a huge impact.
Here are some tips on how to talk to someone about their mental health:
Ask how they are
It’s okay to ask someone who has been struggling with their mental health how they are doing. They may or may not want to talk about it but letting them know that you are there for them and that they don’t have to avoid the subject with you can be important. Remember, mental health issues are only one part of someone’s life and it’s important to continue connecting with them over the things you’ve always talked about together.
Avoid using clichés like “cheer up” or “pull yourself together” and instead try to be open-minded and listen to what the person has to say. Even if you don’t have all the answers, simply talking and listening can be incredibly helpful.
If you feel uncertain about how to start a conversation about mental health, you might find it helpful to educate yourself about different mental health conditions. This can give you a better understanding and provide a starting point for conversation. Asking open-ended and non-judgmental questions, like “how does that affect you” or “what does it feel like,” can also help you to better understand their experience.
When someone is going through a difficult time, they may still be the same person you know and love. Don’t change your behaviour around them, continue to include them in social activities and offer to do things you would normally do with them.
It’s okay if someone isn’t ready to talk about their mental health struggles. Even if they don’t open up right away, the fact that you’ve tried to have a conversation with them may make it easier for them to talk about it in the future. Consider sending a caring message to let them know you are there for them.
Supporting someone who has been struggling with their mental health can be mentally challenging for you, too. Using support services such as EAP’s can be helpful to ensure you are also receiving support to deal with the situation. Our EAP provides a wide range of support, featuring a 24/7, employee helpline which is available all year round to provide immediate emotional support, structured counselling, a wellbeing app, live chat, management support and more.