Time To Talk 2020: Starting a Conversation about Mental Health

6th February is Time To Talk Day – the hero team have put together their top tips to support having conversation about mental health. Choose to talk about mental health and help change lives.

hero’s Head of Content & Delivery Sam says, “We all have mental health, just like we all have physical, social and financial health. They all make up our Wellbeing. Throughout life we all exist on a health continuum ranging from great or good health, to poor health, illness or disability. And this is the same for mental health. This doesn’t mean we all have mental ill health, but it does mean from time to time we may experience challenges that compromise our mental health’.

If you believe a friend, family member or co-worker may be having difficulties with their mental health, things to remember: 

1. There is no ‘perfect’ moment 

Don’t hesitate approaching someone around to talk about mental health because you don’t feel like it’s the right moment. Many people feel more comfortable talking if they are perhaps in a car driving, walking alongside someone or in a natural environment such as a cafe. Approaching someone in a formal 1:1 setting can be intimidating and daunting. 

2. Ask Twice 

How many times have you experienced negative thoughts or negative emotions and when asked ‘Are you okay?’ We robotically respond ‘Yes Thanks, are you?’. With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem this year alone, if someone says they’re fine, they might not be. Ask Twice. 

3. Be open with your own feelings and emotions 

Don’t be afraid to speak about your own emotions and feelings, people will open to you more if you’re also expressing mixed emotions. Research shows that even brief sharing exercises can have substantial impacts on psychological and physical health even months after sharing. As our mental health expert Ashleigh often reminds us, “Once I shared my story, I realised I wasn’t alone”.

4. Don’t be afraid to mention any odd behaviour. 

If someone you know isn’t acting themselves, ask them if everything is okay, if there is anything you can help with, that you’re worried because they don’t seem themselves. 

5. Don’t wait to see them 

Wellbeing coach Vicky says, “We have the power of social media, emails and smart phones to connect with people all over the world. Although it might not be as effective as a face to face conversation, however checking in with someone over technology allows the person to know you are thinking about them, and they also might feel more comfortable opening up over a message.”

6. 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.

7. Don’t Try to Fix It

Listening is a crucial part of supporting someone’s mental health. Often it can be tempting, particularly for those you care about, to try to ‘fix’ a mental illness. Unless you’re a medical professional trained in supporting mental ill health, the best way you can support a friend is to listen to how they feel, and signpost them to professional help.

Would you like to find out more about mental resilience and training on how to have conversations about mental health? Get in touch via hello@herowellbeing.com