Talking Tips

Time to Talk Day is about us all being open to the idea of talking – we all have mental health, and by having conversations about it we can help ourselves and others. 

If someone does open up about their mental health, we know it might not always feel easy to know what to say. But it doesn’t have to be awkward, and being there for someone can make a big difference.

There is no right way to talk about mental health. But these tips can help make sure you’re approaching it in a helpful way.

And if you’re looking for even more guidance on how to support others, you might find Mind’s Conversations in the Community training helpful.

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.

Want to take the next step in supporting people?

If you’re active in your community and want to support others with their mental health, Mind has designed an online course just for you. Conversations in the Community will teach you how to make people feel comfortable enough to open up, how to ask open questions, and how to help them look for support afterwards. 

To sign up or find out more, visit Mind’s website.

If you or someone you know is struggling

It’s great to start the conversation about mental health. We hope that these materials and ideas help get people talking. Sometimes this can mean that people currently experiencing mental health problems will need some support, as sensitive conversations may bring up difficult things. There are lots of places to which you can go or direct people for help.

Mind – how to seek help 
Rethink – help in your area

Cost of living

More people are experiencing mental health problems because of the cost of living crisis. And people who already had a mental health problem are struggling more. While we still encourage talking, we also know that practical support is important. Being stressed about money is exhausting. If you’re worried about money and it’s affecting the mental health of you or someone you care about, Mind has some information that might be helpful. 

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