Breaking the silence: the importance of talking about mental health and how to start the conversation

A 2022 survey of more than 5,000 people revealed that one in eight respondents, who were already struggling with a mental health problem prior to the pandemic, hadn’t spoken to anyone about their psychological problems.


Do you struggle to talk about your mental health?

‘Human beings are relational animals. This means that arguably more than any other animal on the planet we are dependent on relationships for our wellbeing and not just in infancy and throughout childhood, but during our entire lives.

‘Whilst texting has for many become the communication method of choice, it does not have the same ‘relational’ impact as having a conversation with a friend or loved one. So, if you are feeling stressed, lonely or overwhelmed, as well as doing your bit to calm your emotions and your mind, you can also reach out to a friend to have a chat. Take the risk of telling them a little of how you feel and that you just wanted to hear a friendly or supportive voice. You will be amazed at what a difference this can make,’ says UKCP psychotherapist Mark Vahrmeyer.

When you’re struggling to find a supportive and non-judgmental listener, organisations like the Samaritans have a support helpline where you can talk to someone who is trained to listen and offer support.

Learning more about mental health can increase your understanding of what you're going through and make you more comfortable to talk about it. Many organisations like Rethink Mental Illness provide useful resources and information about different mental health conditions, treatments, and coping strategies.


Are you offering support to someone else?

If you are worried about someone, starting a conversation about mental health can be difficult, but there are a few tips that can make it easier.

First, it is important to be sensitive and non-judgmental when talking about mental health. Try using language that is empathetic and understanding. Everyone's experience with mental health is different, so remember to listen and be open to different perspectives.

Another way to start a conversation about mental health is to ask if they would find talking to a loved one or professional about what they are experiencing. There are resources that you can point someone to for additional support. Mind has a comprehensive information and support page to help you navigate access to support.


The benefits of psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can be particularly helpful if you’re struggling to talk about your mental health. A therapist can provide a safe, non-judgmental, and confidential space where you can openly discuss your thoughts, feelings and experiences, and learn new coping strategies and communication skills that can make things easier for you. If you or someone you love are interested in pursuing therapy, then you can find guidance on selecting an accredited and qualified therapist on our website.

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