Mental Health Awareness Week: How to Talk to Someone in Need
Wanting to help someone suffering poor mental health can be hard. Sometimes things are said that come out sounding wrong, or we can be ignorant to the seriousness of someone’s situations. We don’t want to cross boundaries, but we also don’t want to be so un-involved the person struggling thinks we don’t care.
However, there are tips on how to start up a conversation on how to help. Some include:
- Listen. This is perhaps the most important tip to help someone. How can you help if you don’t know what’s wrong? Let the person take their time to talk and express how they are feeling. From there, it will be easier to understand how you can help them.
- Take them seriously. It’s probably hard for the person to open up, and the last thing they need is someone they thought they could trust not see their problems as valid. Brushing them off as them having a bad day or comparing their issues to someone who “has it worse” minimises their own issues and will make them reluctant to open up again.
- Don’t gossip. What they are going through is for that person to choose who to discuss it with. Do not breach their trust to tell people who may not take their issues seriously or will tell other people.
- Try not to be judgemental. Whilst whatever they talk to you about may sound weird to you, dismissing them as “crazy” is not helpful.
- Let them know you’ll always be there to talk. More often than not, all people want is someone they trust being supportive. By being available to them, it will help encourage them to be more open, and can lead to them getting the help they need.
You have to remember that people are not always going to want to talk about their struggles, and there is nothing you can do but be patient and let them know you’ll be there if and when they’re ready. You cannot force someone to talk, or seek help, but you can educate yourself in the meantime.
JD Training is offering Mental Health First Aid courses this June, a course that helps you be able to help those in need.