Experiencing a mental health problem can be very traumatic and isolating. If you suspect someone may be experiencing a mental health problem, mental illness or having suicidal thoughts, talking to them about it may really help in their road to recovery.
If you are worried about someone’s mental health, starting the conversation may not be as difficult as you think. You might be worried that the other person doesn’t want to talk about their mental health. If they don’t, that’s OK and you can’t force them to talk to you. You may also be afraid that you will not know how to offer help but there is lots of support available to help you. Starting that conversation is important and can really help change someone’s life for the better.
Whilst every situation is different, here are some of the ways you can approach difficult conversations.
How do you know there’s a problem?
A lot of us prefer not to talk about our problems. Needing help can be seen as weak. But if friends or loved ones don’t tell us something’s bothering them, how are we supposed to know?
Sometimes people can put out some signals. The signs are often there if we know what to look out for. Here are some of the ways that people signal that they may need help:
Putting themselves down in a serious or jokey way, like ‘Oh, no one loved me’ or ‘I’m a waste of space.’
Losing interest in their appearance.
Using drugs and/or alcohol as a comfort.
Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits.
Being uncharacteristically clumsy or accident prone.
Making leading statements, like ‘You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through’ or ‘Someone up there’s got it in for me.’