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Learn to talk about mental health

Talking about mental health isn’t something that everyone knows how to do naturally. It comes easily to some, but others don’t know how to approach the topic. Fortunately for the latter, we’ve collated some research-based advice by the Time to Change organization about how to do so with ease. 
 

1. Don’t wait for ‘the right time’

When we think about what a conversation might look like, many of us might imagine something out of a typical therapy session- two people sitting in alone in a quiet room giving each other complete attention. However, this isn’t always the case when one isn’t in therapy- a conversation that leads to talking about mental health with a friend, family member, or colleague rarely looks like this. 
 
It’s important to have conversations like this at a time and place that feels natural, and one where both parties are comfortable. At times, it’s also easier to talk about our feelings when we’re busy doing something else. For example, when we’re eating together, going for a stroll through the park, or commuting. The more typical the environment, the more comfortable the conversation can feel. 
 

2. Ask twice

Have you received the response “I’m fine” after asking someone how they’re doing? Most likely, the answer is “yes”. In cases like this, trust your instincts- Does it seem like everything is not really fine? Does the person with whom you’re speaking seem sullen, wearing a fake smile, or indicate signs of being sullen? If so, ask them again how they’re doing. 
 
Someone might be answering that everything is fine just to be polite, or if they don’t feel like talking at the moment because they don’t want to burden you with their worries. However, what they might actually need is someone to prove that they genuinely want to know how they feel. By asking twice, the person in question can realize that you’re there to listen and that you’re not just being polite for asking the first time.
 

3. Go digital if you have to

Ideally, it would be great to talk to someone in person- it can help to see someone’s facial expressions and read their body language when you’re trying to understand how they feel and what they’re trying to convey. However, some people find it easier to talk about problems that they’re facing through digital means such as via text, email, or a phone call.
 
The important thing is to talk to them in a manner that they feel comfortable, so that they can open up with ease. All of the same tips apply- don’t wait for the ‘right’ time and ask twice. 
 
Whether you’re speaking with someone in person or online, it always helps to talk about what’s bothering you- talking about something that’s weighing you down, no matter how insignificant you may think it is, can help lighten the load and may even provide you with some objective opinions and helpful information. 
 
At Greenstaff Medical, we look out for your well-being- physical, emotional, and mental health is important to us! Our well-being expert Colleen, an organizational psychologist, creates webinars to help you, and we regularly upload health-related blogs such as tips to reduce stress at work. If you’d like to be involved with an agency that cares- join us by applying to our jobs or getting in touch.