Having a conversation about mental health might be uncomfortable, but it can make all the difference. We must become the change we want to see, and to make that happen it all starts with a conversation. You do not need to be an expert to recognize when you need outside help, if you can feel you are not doing well, this is when you might want to seek a greater network of support.
You should take the same approach when you recognize that someone else might need to address mental wellness. Let me share an example of a few possible conversation starter with a friend or family member. “Seems like something up. Do you want to talk about what’s going on?”
“I’ve notice you’ve been down lately. What’s going on?” “Hey we haven’t talk in a while. How are you?” Trust your instinct – you probably know what your friend really needs.
Being a good friend doesn’t require an instruction manual nor do you need to be a professional to know that they might need additional support. Don’t worry about finding the perfect words to say – there is no right or wrong, just be there and let them know they have your support.
A single conversation is not likely to be a cure, but your willingness to continue talking, listen, and simply being present helps more than you might know. Even just checking in to see how they’re doing can be one of the best ways to help someone struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns. Beyond that, reinforce any momentum – no matter how small, that your friend makes towards getting help.
From the smallest steps to giant leaps, all efforts should be positively reinforced. Saying something like “I’m really glad you spoke to someone” can make a huge difference.
Matthew Taylor, MHRT, AODC – Taylormade Counseling