Speak Your Truth; Opening Up to Friends and Family About Mental Health
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Speak Your Truth; Opening Up to Friends and Family About Mental Health

July 17, 2022 by PathForward
Speaking to others about your mental health can calm some of the chaos you're feeling.
Speaking to others about your mental health can calm some of the chaos you're feeling.

In 2020, one in five adults in the United States experienced a mental illness, and one in 20 struggled with a severe mental illness. Whether you're struggling with your own mental health or you're concerned about the health of someone else, it's important to ditch the stigma and find ways to open up on this topic. Mental illnesses can feel incredibly isolating, but no one should have to struggle alone. Here are some suggestions for speaking your truth.

How to Open Up About Your Own Mental Health

Mental illness is an incredibly common experience, but there's still some stigma that makes it tricky to talk about. If you're struggling with your mental health, it's important to know when to ask for help. While a professional is a great place to start, it's also important to build a support system among your friends and family. This means having a tough talk. Thinking about how to open up about your mental health ahead of time can make for smoother sailing.

Decide What To Say

Talking about mental health is tough, and that's ok! Put together an outline to organize your thoughts on the topic. Identify key points you'll want to address like:

  • How you're feeling.
  • How your mental health is impacting your life.
  • Your primary concerns.
  • Your plan of action.

Be as specific as possible about what you're experiencing. It's easy for others to minimize your statement if you simply say that you're feeling tired. If you explain that you literally can't get out of bed and make it to work or that you're sleeping 12 hours a night and napping mid-day, the situation becomes clearer. 

Let your loved ones know exactly how your mental illness is impacting your life. Specify anything you're unable to do, from completing daily tasks to making it through the day without putting on the weeps. It's important to be open and honest. If you're afraid that you'll choke up, consider practicing with an impartial third party, like a Psychic. A Clairsentient Psychic can even help you put words to feelings you don't know how to describe.

Find the Right Situation

Pick your moment. Let your loved ones know that you need to block out some time with them so they don't have other errands to rush off to. Choose a quiet, comfortable place with all the cushy amenities you need to feel safe. It's all about the little things. A warm cup of tea in your hand or a squishy pillow in your lap can offer essential comfort for this tough talk.

Clarify Your Needs

Tell your loved ones exactly what you need. They may not know how to react right away. Set them up for a slam dunk in the support department by asking for something specific. Do you want someone to go with you to a family therapist? Would you like a friend to check in on you once a day? Maybe you just need some help making the call to get help. Speak up.

Speaking to Others About Their Mental Health

While only certain health care professionals can provide an official mental illness diagnosis, you may sense that something's up with a loved one based on your observations. Some common symptoms of mental illness include:

  • Changes in eating habits.
  • Confusion.
  • Extreme mood changes.
  • Difficulty with everyday problems.  
  • Drug or alcohol use.
  • Delusions, paranoia, or hallucinations.
  • Withdrawal from people and activities.

Hard as it is, it's important to have an open conversation when you know someone is struggling. Here are some tips for tackling the topic of mental health when you see someone having trouble.

Parents with Mental Illness

A parent with a mental illness can be scary. If possible, enlist the help of another adult when you approach your parent about this topic. It's important to be specific. Make notes if you need to, so you can reference exact incidents that have you concerned. It's not your job to solve the mental illness, but you can offer support and assistance in reaching out to a professional. Consider suggesting a family therapist so you can all explore the issue together.

Children With Mental Illness

If you suspect that your child is struggling with a mental illness, you should address the situation right away. With young children, you may need to bring the discussion down to their level. Drawing pictures of emotions or reading stories about mental health can make this complex topic more understandable. 

Validate your child's experiences, even if you have trouble understanding them. You may not know why they're exhibiting a compulsion, but it's important not to frame the action as "wrong" unless it's directly harmful to someone else. Focus on the fact that you know your child is struggling and you're ready to help. Seek assistance from a professional who specializes in children's mental health to find the best path forward.

Friends With Mental Illness

Talking to a friend about their mental illness is tricky because you run the risk of running them off. If your friend isn't ready to open up about their issues, they may just ghost when you bring them up. Keep your focus on compassion. Let your friend know that you care and simply want to help. Don't judge their feelings or actions. 

Understand that it's impossible to climb into someone else's mind. Though you may have no trouble getting up and going to work in the morning, that doesn't mean that it's easy for someone else. If you find yourself feeling frustrated or judgmental about the situation, try talking to a third party before directly approaching your friend.

If you're not ready to speak your truth to friends and family, try talking to a Psychic first. You can enter a judgment-free zone where your feelings are uniquely understood by an intuitive individual.






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