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  • Writer's pictureSarah

World Mental Health Day

10 October is World Mental Health Day and this year's theme is mental health is a universal human right.

Despite mental health being a universal right, there are some groups who face more barriers to good mental health than others. The Mental Health Foundation have stated that children and adults in the lowest income bracket are 2-3 times more likely to develop mental health problems, that asylum seekers are 5 times more likely to have mental health needs and 38% of people with severe symptoms of mental health problems also have long-term physical conditions.

The Mental Health Foundation is striving for a mentally healthy society for all and to support communities, families and individuals to live mentally healthier lives.

Today is a chance to talk about mental health, to think about how we can look after our own mental health, as well as looking after others, to understand how important it is to talk about things that are having an affect on us and to get help if you are struggling.

The Mental Health Foundation have produced some top tips for talking about mental health:

Talking about your mental health

Choose someone you trust to talk to

Consider who you feel you can talk to, this may be a family member, friend or colleague, or you may prefer to speak to someone that you do not know, such as a support helpline.

If you find it difficult to decide as to who you feel you can trust to talk to, then consider creating a pros and cons list about talking to someone.

Think about the best place to talk

Choose a place where you feel comfortable to speak about how you are feeling. You may wish to choose somewhere that is private and that you are less likely to be disturbed.

Prepare yourself for their reaction

Hopefully the person that you choose to share your feelings and thoughts with will provide you with a good experience, but there is a possibility that the person may not react in the way you anticipate or hope that they will. This reaction may be for different reasons, such as they may be worried about you or that they initially do not fully understand. Therefore it may be help to provide them with some information, which will help them to understand.

It can have an impact when a person does not respond in the way you expected or hoped, but be mindful to be kind to yourself and practice self-care.

Talking to someone about their mental health

Find a good space to talk without distractions

If you have concerns about someone, then try to find a place where you know you can have a conversation without interruptions or distractions. Ensure that you can give the person your full attention and time.

Listen and ask questions

Listening is one of the most valuable ways to support an individual.

Show them that you are actively listening by facing them, make eye contact and do not interrupt them, provide them with the space and opportunity to share their feelings and thoughts.

Asking questions to clarify what they mean is a useful tool to ensure that you fully understand, but also to demonstrate that you are actively listening and are engaging with what they are saying. It is important though to make sure the questions are relevant to what they are saying, and not as a means of changing the subject.

Ask how you can help

Ask how you can help them or make suggestions, but try to avoid telling them what to do, as it is their choice as to what help and support they access.

They may want support with making a GP appointment or for you to just keep things normal by talking to them in the way that you would usually do.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, then there is lots of support available.

Mental Health Toolkit
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