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How to talk about mental health

Talking about your mental health is important and something important to remember is that it doesn’t indicate weakness. In fact, it shows strength to admit that there’s something wrong and that you’re willing to make an effort to improve it. Just like going to the doctor is acceptable to maintain your physical health, it is just as acceptable to maintain your mental health by talking to a friend, family member, colleague, or professional therapist.
If you’re still unsure about why talking about your mental health, here are a few benefits of different ways of talking about your mental well-being to get you thinking about whether it’s time for you to speak up.

Talking therapy

According to the NHS, talking therapy is advised for those who are going through a difficult time or have emotional problems with which they need help. It may be easier to talk to a stranger rather than friends or family- during talking therapy, a trained therapist or counsellor will listen to you and help you find the answers you seek without judgment. You would have the freedom to talk, shout, cry, or even just think. It allows for an opportunity to look at your problems in a different way. There are various talking therapies (such as one-to-one, group sessions or relationship counselling) but they all have the same goal- to make you feel better.
Some other benefits, according to Positive Psychology, include:
  • Improvement in interpersonal and communication skills
  • Greater self-acceptance
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved management of emotions and self-expression
  • Relief from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and others
  • Clarity about problems you have been experiencing

Conversations with friends/family

Some may feel more comfortable addressing their well-being with friends, family, or co-workers. It is important to choose wisely when you’re sharing such personal information with others- be open with people who won’t judge you or make you feel uncomfortable. If you’re not sure about how they’d react, the National Alliance on Mental Illness advises by starting the conversation along the lines of “There's something going on in my life that's bothering me. I think I need to talk to someone about it. I feel embarrassed about it, though, so please don't laugh it off or make a joke out of it."
There are many benefits to talking with those who are close to you- They may be able to provide support that a professional might not, for example by agreeing to give you a ride to appointments or sending you daily/weekly messages of encouragement. By simply having a sympathetic ear, you can reduce your stress levels, improve your mood, and have the opportunity to ask for (and received) support if/when you need it. It also helps for certain people to know, so that if you are (for example) impatient, then they can understand why. 
Whatever your choice when it comes to addressing mental health, the important thing is to address it- be it through a ‘pro’s and cons’ list, writing in a journal, or attending wellness classes, at least do your best to address the problem before it affects you on a deeper level. 
Do you know of more benefits to talking about your mental health? We’re always looking out for the well-being of our nurses and internal staff, and we’d love to enhance their wellness by being able to provide more helpful advice. If you have any other helpful tips, get in touch and let us know!