Want to talk to a mate about mental health but don’t know where to start?
Mary Magalotti’s Advice for Talking about Mental Health
Pick somewhere safe and quiet to chat: Depending on your friend’s personality and the things you like to do together, there could be lots of good times to talk about mental health. It could be during one of your usual hangs, but make sure you’re somewhere relatively private, where you won’t be interrupted.
It doesn’t have to be a big deal – everyone has to role to play in reducing the stigma around mental health.
Be honest about what you’re noticing: If you’re starting this conversation because you’re seeing your friend become more quiet, withdrawn, or sad, let them know without making them feel guilty. You can follow this up with a statement like ‘It’s no good that you’re feeling down – did you want to chat about what’s going on?’
Something like this could be the push they need to open up – but don’t pressure them if they don’t quite feel ready.
Let them know you’re there to talk: Never underestimate the importance of just ‘being there’. If your friend knows that they have someone that can trust, mental health becomes much easier to discuss. Let your mate lead the conversation and offer your support by acknowledging their struggles and offering to be there when they’re feeling down. You can also encourage them to chat to a psychologist for some extra support.