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T IS FOR TALK    

T IS FOR TALK

Artwork by Fisk

It can be difficult to express how depression or anxiety feels. It can be even more difficult to share those feelings with someone else. Talking about our mental health is the first step towards feeling better and getting help.

How Do I Talk About My Own Mental Health?

When it comes to talking about what we are going through, the most important thing is that you are talking. Simply sharing how we are feeling with someone we trust can offer immediate relief. It all starts with finding who to talk to. Speak with someone who you are comfortable with, who is a good listener, and who you can trust. If you’re not sure who that may be, you can start by talking to a doctor, teacher, counselor, or even someone at The Crisis Text Line. 

Just as there is no one way to experience mental health, there is no one way to describe or articulate what you are going through, there is no “script”. Mental health looks different for everyone, and you know yourself best. Start by telling your trusted listener how you are feeling. Share whatever details you are comfortable with, only what feels right for you.

Examples Of How To Start The Conversation:

“I think something is wrong because I feel _____. Can we talk?”

“I have been struggling recently and I think I may want to see a therapist. Can you help me find one?”

“I feel sad all the time. I’m not able to laugh at my favorite shows anymore. I may need extra support during this time.”

“I want to talk to you about something that’s hard for me to put into words.”

How Do I Talk To Someone I’m Worried About?

Stigma around mental health has the ability to keep our loved ones suffering in silence. Sometimes, it’s up to family and friends to start the conversation. You don’t have to have the answers, you just have to show support. You can’t help someone with mental health challenges without talking to them about it. Approaching and offering your support sends a powerful message that they are not alone. Breaking the silence is the first step to healing. 

When it comes to bringing up the conversation, 86% of people say face-to-face is the best option. There is no perfect way to have these conversations. Simply showing your concern and support is a simple way to be there for them.

Ways To Start This Conversation:

“I’ve noticed that you’ve been ____. Is there anything you want to talk about?”

“What can I do to support you?”

“Lately I’ve gotten the feeling that you’ve been having a difficult time, and I’m worried about you. Can we talk?”

While there is no perfect way to have these conversations, there are certain phrases that sound helpful that don’t actually help. Talking about mental health is tough! Even when we have the best intentions.

Phrases To Avoid And Why:

“Think happy thoughts.” - If it was this simple, mental health issues wouldn’t exist. This statement implies that it is a choice, which isn’t true. 

“Everyone feels depressed sometimes.” - While it may feel like you are trying to validate their experience, this sounds dismissive. It’s also not true. While everyone experiences sadness, we don’t all experience depression. 

“It won’t last forever.” - This is unhelpful and untrue. Chances are, if you are having these conversations, it’s because someone has been feeling this way for a long time and it hasn’t gotten better.