How to start a conversation about mental health


How to start a conversation about mental health
Aldwyn Boscawen, founder of Morale, has offered up some top tips on broaching difficult conversations.

In recent years, a lot of the stigma about reaching out for support for mental health has diminished.

However, if you are worried about a colleague or loved one, bringing up the subject can be rather daunting.

Here are some useful tips:

Use open-ended questions

It can be hard to find the right words at times, so it’s a good idea to consider some conversation starters.

“Have some pre-prepared conversation starters to help get them talking. Rather than, ‘Are you OK?’ try asking, ‘What’s on your mind?’ or ‘How has work been lately?’ This can create more of an open dialogue,” he said.

Meet at a place where you both feel comfortable

It can feel awkward to be vulnerable, open and honest, so meeting in an environment where you both feel comfortable is likely to help.

“Instead of a busy bar, try going for a coffee or a walk. If you really struggle with these conversations, a good way to start is to check in digitally,” Aldwyn continued. “For example, send an anonymous boost using Morale. That way you don’t have to engage in an intense conversation straight away, you can simply let a friend know that you’re thinking of them and that you care.”

Be present

We’ve all been there – trying to open up but feeling like your friend is too busy, distracted, or preoccupied to take it in.

“It’s so important to be present so you can really listen to what your friend has to say,” he noted.

Don’t diagnose

No matter what you do, don’t try to diagnose someone’s problems.

“Dedicate time to the conversation – at the pub or during a busy workday isn’t the best time to have a genuine, open conversation. You don’t want anyone to feel rushed, so pick a moment when you know they have time to talk and you have time to listen and take it in,” Aldwyn added. “It sounds simple, but knowing what’s going on in their lives generally is a good way to be able to weave in a chat about mental health. Regular check-ins about lots of topics mean that when mental health comes up, your friend knows they might not have to start from the beginning, because you already know the majority of what’s going on in their lives.”


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