two women sitting beside table and talking

Talking about mental health

Talking about mental health can be extremely challenging but it is very important. This article will explain this importance, give you some tips on how to talk and who with and also explain where you can go if you don’t feel like you can talk.

Why is it important to talk about mental health?

Research by the U.K mental health foundation has found that every week 1 in 6 adults experiences a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. 90% of people with mental health problems say that they have experienced stigma. Talking about your mental health, be it positive or negative, opens the conversation. This allows you to get support when you need it but also, it’s a way of releasing bottled up emotion. Opening up this conversation and encouraging others to do the same will in time reduce the stigma around mental health so that everyone can be honest about how they are feeling.

Who can I talk to?

All around you there are people that you can talk to about your mental health. These people are your support network and it is up to you who you choose to share your mental health journey with.  This could be anyone from your family and friends or the on-campus support services. Talking to a professional like a GP about your mental health can be a great way to get access to further support but its not always easy. The video below by Mind gives some top tips on preparing to talk to a GP and finding the words to talk about your mental health:

Tips for talking about mental health:

Talking about your mental health is important, but it can be difficult to open up. If you struggle to talk about your mental health here are a few tips:

  • Write a letter if you are afraid to talk face to face
  • Talk to someone who doesn’t know you such as a therapist or GP if you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend or family member
  • Start by journaling and then transition to speaking when you feel more comfortable
  • Practice speaking in the mirror before you talk to someone if you are struggling to do so
  • Remember that you are not alone

What if I don’t feel like I can talk?

Talking to someone is a great way of combating negative mental health but its not always easy. If you struggle with talking to people you know about your mental health then the Big White Wall https://www.bigwhitewall.com/  might help. The site is an anonymous community where members can support each other through the highs and lows of their mental health journeys. With trained professionals available 24/7 and creative tools to help express how you are feeling it is a great place to talk without talking but instead typing.

It is always important to remember that no matter what you are feeling, be it positive or negative there is an extensive range of services available from the university to support you. This includes support with general and mental wellbeing. More information on the support offered can be found here. If you would like external support there is information about a plethora of different services available here.

“Mental health is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you are going”