How To Start A Conversation With Someone About Their Mental Health

I’ve recently heard a few people say they struggle to talk to, or even start a conversation, with someone they are concerned about. I wanted to write this article in the hopes to make it a bit easier to start a conversation with someone you care about.


How To Start A Conversation With Someone About Their Mental Health


Set Up In A Comfortable Environment   

This might seem really obvious but it needs to be said, make sure that you set yourself up somewhere you know your friend will be comfortable and relaxed. It could be anywhere from at home in their bedroom to out at their favourite cafe. It’s also important to consider what you might be doing or what might be going on around you. If you decide to go to their favourite café for a coffee, pick a table that’s in a quiet spot. If you’re at home maybe consider putting on a movie or doing an activity that you can use to help calm your friends nerves.

A good example I’ll give you is the last time I spoke to a friend about his mental health. I went round to his place and we played pool. It gave my friend something to focus on whilst letting out his thoughts. Playing pool also gave me something to change the topic too if I noticed that my friend became uncomfortable or upset. We ended up playing pool for about 6 hours and he was able to let out everything that was on his mind. After our huge stint of pool we both felt much better because he knew he had someone to talk to and I was happy to know what was going on in his life and how to help him out.


Start By Talking About Something Unrelated   

Its good to start the conversation by simply talking about something unrelated to mental health. Talk about something you know this person has an interest in or a passion for, doing this will hopefully let them feel comfortable and relaxed. It will help to create a setting where they will feel safe enough to let their thoughts flow without feeling too scared or anxious.


Slowly Take Step Forwards

As you continue you talk about something unrelated, try to slowly steer the conversation to where you ultimately want it to go. This can be a pretty hard thing to do but I feel it is necessary to prevent scaring the person you want to talk to and potentially ruining your efforts. The easiest way that I’ve found to do this is to slowly work the conversation towards a particular moment when you have noticed this person do something that concerned you.


For example, if you noticed they had done something concerning during school, you ask how school is going, then the particular class you were in, why they did that something that concerned you and finally the conversation will be at a point where you can ask about their mental health. Another example, if you noticed them do something concerning at a concert, you could ask them about the band, then a particular song, them why they did what they did which will ultimately lead to ask them about their mental health. Just remember, its important to be attentive and listen to what they are saying, not necessarily giving your opinion and thoughts on everything but listen and be there to support them.


When You Get There   

Once you have moved the conversation to where you want it, be prepared for anything. They could yell at you, they could cry for hours on end, they could throw up, anything could happen so be prepared. Once you get to this stage the most important thing you can do is to put your own thoughts and concerns aside and just be there for the person you’re talking to. You could get frustrated you could get angry you could get upset, it’ll most likely be quite hard listening to what they are saying, but you need to set your own concerns aside and listen to them. They will undoubtable feel vulnerable and potentially caught out, so make sure you continue to be attentive what they are saying, the way they are saying it and to their body language.


Continue to make them feel comfortable and relaxed, if it appears the situation is to much to handle for them, draw the attention away from them and onto something else (like the game of pool I mentioned earlier). It may time some time to get everything out but you should feel proud know you have helped someone close to you and you will both be a lot better for it!


Hopefully after reading this you can feel a bit more comfortable starting that conversation. It will be tough to begin with but I promise it will feel amazing knowing you have made an effort to help someone close to you. It may not seem like it and they may not show it but the person you’ve just spoken to will feel a huge weight lift off their shoulders. They will feel more comfortable and supported in a time of uncertainty for them and you will a lot closer afterwards. There is no greater feeling! I’d love to hear what your thoughts are so feel free to comment, email me, and please share it around with anyone you think I may help.


If you’re interested feel free to check out my other website and pick up some gorgeous candles. We donate every month to mental health charities so if you want to help out have a look here:

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