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Talking About Mental Health

 

It's good to talk...

"Don't be afraid to talk". "You should talk about it". "Speak to a friend". "Check on your mates".

You've probably heard these comments a lot when it comes to mental health, but what do they actually mean? How do you talk about your mental health? What do you say to someone who you think might be struggling with their mental health? It can be a very difficult and daunting experience, especially for students who are in new surroundings with people you don't really know. Luckily, the team at Student Minds have put this handy guide together to help support someone:

 

Where

  • Choose somewhere quiet without interruptions where you can have a relaxed conversation.
  • Do something relaxing. Sometimes it’s easier to talk openly when the focus isn’t just on the conversation you’re having. You might like to suggest going for a walk together, or invite your friend round for a drink or a meal.
  • “Often going on a walk with my friends helps. We can talk for hours walking around the woods and the setting also serves as a fun thing to do when the weather is nice”

 

When

  • Make sure you have enough time to chat. If you have a short amount of time to talk this can put more pressure on the conversation, and if you have to leave halfway through they may feel hurt or interpret your leaving in the wrong way.
  • You might have shared initial concerns with others in your friendship group, but remember that it might be intimidating if you all approach your friend as a group. It might be easier to have a conversation when it is just the two of you. This should also be reflected in your language - saying ‘I’ rather than ‘we’.
  • Avoid difficult times. It’s probably best to avoid starting a deep conversation at times that are particularly difficult or stressful for individuals. For example meal times or food shopping for a student with an eating disorder.