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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Ashby

Mental Health: Are You Really Ok?

Updated: May 6, 2023

Make time to talk, especially if you know someone who is struggling. However you do it, start a conversation about mental health today. Here's how to do it.

Image: Pixabay

If you’re affected by mental health problems, it can help to reach out and talk to someone close to you or a medical professional. But that can be easier said than done. That’s why every one of us needs to know how to start a conversation about mental health to talk to and support those around us if they run into difficulties.

Here are some tips on how to help someone if you think they are suffering from problems with their mental health.

Find Time to Talk

  • Ask them twice if they’re ok. If you ask someone how they are and they reply that they’re fine, ask them again. You could say, “no, really, is everything ok?” This way, they might be more likely to answer honestly.

  • Give them your time. If they want to talk, you need to make an effort to really listen to what they say. You don’t have to be an expert on mental health or any topic at all. You just need them to know that you’ve got time to listen.

  • To start a conversation, ask open questions. That means questions that encourage the person to describe how they are feeling about something rather than just saying yes or no.

You could ask: “You’ve been a bit quiet this week. Is everything ok? I’m here if you want to talk.”

“How have you been feeling lately?”

  • It can help someone to open up if you open up first. For example, you could share something that happened to you so they feel more comfortable and won’t worry that you will judge them.

  • Don’t think you have to try and fix anything for them. You are just providing them with an opportunity to talk, which can be really powerful for them.

  • If they don’t want to talk about what they are going through, that’s ok. At least you’ve tried, and if they feel ready to talk another time, they’ll know you’re there, and you’ll listen.

  • If they start to talk and want your input, you could offer practical help, such as help with a task.

  • Think about what you would like someone to say to you. What would help, and what might make you feel worse?

  • Suggest something you could do together.

Getting Help If You're Struggling With Mental Health

If you or someone you know has a mental health problem, help is available. You can access talking therapies for free on the NHS without a referral from your GP.

If you need urgent help, you can call the NHS urgent mental health helpline 24 hours a day. Follow this link for more information:

If someone’s life is at risk, you should call 999 or go to A&E.

You can also read tips on mental health on the following website:

If you have a problem with your mental health, it can affect everything you do, think, and feel. For example, you might feel anxious, worried, scared, sad, irritable, empty or numb, or something else. But remember, most people can get better and recover completely. If you’re struggling with your mental health, remember you’re not alone and you can - and will - feel better.

There is no right way to talk about mental health. The most important thing is that you do talk about it and that you show someone who is struggling that you care. Send a text to let someone know you’re thinking about them right now.

And remember, we care. Get in touch with us anytime.

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