Mental health is a crucial aspect of our overall well-being. Yet, it remains a sensitive and often taboo topic of conversation. When you’re struggling with mental health concerns, it can be difficult to talk to your loved ones about what you’re going through. However, talking about your mental health with a trusted family member or friend can help you feel less alone and provide the support and guidance you need to cope. If you’re wondering how to initiate a mental health conversation with a loved one, this article will give tips and strategies to start an open and productive dialogue about your concerns.
What are Mental Health Concerns?
Your mental health is composed of your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Mental health concerns are conditions that can have adverse or undesirable effects on those emotions, thoughts, and behavior. These mental health concerns can take many forms and affect individuals of every age, background, and nationality. Common mental health concerns include depression, anxiety or panic, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.
Mental health concerns can cause many symptoms, including common symptoms like sudden and profound changes in mood, behavior, and thought processes. Mental health concerns may also considerably impact the affected individual’s quality of life, leading to problems in their relationships, professional life, and general well-being. Anyone experiencing mental health concerns or feelings of mental illness should find support from family or friends and seek professional counseling.
Are Mental Health Concerns Something to be Shared?
Mental health concerns can be challenging to share openly, particularly with the perceived stigma around mental health. However, hiding the issues can increase stress, anxiety, and adverse health effects. It’s also important to remember that having mental health concerns is not a sign of weakness or deficiency and that it takes bravery to make the first step toward recovery.
Reasons to Talk to a Loved One About Your Mental Health
You may want to share your mental health concerns with a loved one for several reasons. Not only can it result in them helping you stay accountable, but it can give them a chance to provide empathy, crucial support, and encouragement.
Communication with a loved one about mental health concerns can help you maintain a sense of accountability. By making your struggles more open and honest, you can help your support network to hold you accountable. This can be a potent motivational factor for many people and can be the factor that enables you to stay on track.
Support is critical to any successful recovery. Talking with a loved one about your mental health concerns helps them offer the support they can more openly. Peer support in recovery is one of the most potent factors in preventing relapse.
In addition to accountability and support, a loved one can help offer incredible amounts of encouragement. This can help you keep your motivation for recovery in mind so that you can more clearly see your goals. Loved ones are perfect for reminding you of your strength and helping you think about the future.
How to Talk to a Loved One About Your Mental Health Concerns
If you are getting ready to talk to a loved one about your mental health concerns, there are some things you can do to prepare and to be more effective during your discussion. Following these tips will help ensure a more positive and productive conversation.
Identify who to talk to
Suppose you have a large family. In that case, it may take some consideration before you eventually figure out who you want to talk to about your mental health concerns. This could be a family member, close friend, or mental health professional. Whoever you decide to speak to, you should ensure it’s someone that will actively listen while offering support without judgment.
Prepare for the conversation
Most people will need to think about what they must say in the conversation beforehand. In contrast, others may feel more comfortable speaking from the heart with little to no prep. You know yourself best, so prepare in a way that will suit you best. Whether you print out an entire speech or make a few notes on a notecard, a little prep can go a long way.
Use plain, concise language
Make sure you use clear and plain language so your loved one understands what you’re trying to convey and can support you accordingly. This is important, notably if you’ve already participated in treatment to some extent and have the knowledge they may need to learn about your condition.
Be open and honest about your feelings.
It’s important to let your loved one know how you are feeling and what you are experiencing now. It can be difficult to effectively share your feelings, even when speaking to a loved one you trust completely. However, sharing those feelings is essential to creating a robust and empathetic support system.
Avoid using any blame or judgment
Make sure you don’t blame yourself or others for any mental health concerns that you may have. Mental illness is not the result of any personal failure or mistake. Sometimes, you can’t control it without professional help, guidance, and medication. Use language that focuses on your personal experiences and emotions, and avoid any implication of blame or judgment.
While you are getting ready to talk to your loved one about your mental health concerns, allow them ample opportunity to speak. You should be open to hearing your loved one’s perspective and input. They may give advice or offer support, but allowing them the opportunity to speak and listen intently can help you get a fresh take on your situation and help guide you.
Where to go for Help Talking to a Loved One
If you have mental health concerns and need help maintaining self-care, it may be time to speak to a professional about them. Contact Agape today to talk with a mental health professional about your needs.