How to Talk About Mental Health
Did you know that social support plays a key role in mental health and mental illness recovery? That's why it's essential to destigmatize talking about our mental health, and to encourage open conversations with friends and family. Instead of waiting for loved ones who may be struggling with their mental health to reach out, consider "reaching in."
Here are a few ways that might help set the right tone for communicating with your loved one:
Learn more first
Not sure what to say when you have the first talk? Take a moment to learn the basics on emotions, symptoms and treatment options from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Watch out for stigma
Remind yourself that mental illness is a lot like physical illness, and it's not their fault.
Listen more, talk less. Ask open-ended questions and encourage sharing.
Offer support and empathy
Provide support and informed guidance, not advice. (Advice should come from mental health professionals).
Meet them “where they're at”
Ask your loved one if they're comfortable talking about their mental health. If they need more time, assure them that you're there for them and check in from time to time.
We know that talking about your feelings can be hard. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-NAMI or text “NAMI” to 741741
For more suggestions and to learn more about how to talk about mental health, visit: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/May-2020/Talking-About-Mental-Illness-Reaching-In