Whether you’re a teen or an adult, if you’re struggling with your mental health, having support is crucial. However, getting started can be challenging if you haven’t talked about mental health issues with your friends before. If you want to talk about mental health concerns in a positive, supportive way, explore these tips to help you begin the conversation.
Talking About Mental Health with Friends: Four Tips
Before starting this conversation, it can help to prepare. Consider who you want to tell about your mental health concerns and consider the goals of your conversation. Have you had a hard time talking to your friends lately because of mental health struggles? Are you reaching out for support? Maybe your therapist has suggested that looping your friends into what you’re experiencing would be helpful? Planning around your specific situation can ensure you express everything you want to say.
- Write It Down
As you figure out what you want to say, take notes. If you’re feeling nervous before talking to your friend, having some talking points prepared can put you at ease. This can also help you set boundaries around what you want to discuss. Consider whether you want to talk with your friend about recent breakthroughs in therapy, for example.
2. Find a Comfortable Setting
Choose a place where you feel comfortable before talking with your friend. Try to talk to them where you feel most calm and stable, and find a time where you won’t have to rush through the conversation. For example, make some tea, set up some snacks, or put on some soothing music. Do whatever you need to feel more secure.
3. Use “I” Statements
Focus your conversation around how mental health struggles have impacted you. Giving concrete examples of times when you’ve felt the effects of mental health issues can help your friends better understand what you’re facing.
4. Offer Ways Your Friends Can Help
Your friends will want to support you in any way they can, but it can be difficult to know how to help those struggling with mental health issues. Giving your friend some ideas can be helpful.
Examples of ways your friends can help include:
- Checking in on how you’re doing
- Helping with concrete tasks, like setting up therapy appointments
- Pointing you towards healthy coping mechanisms
If there are some boundary concerns you want to express, tell your friends about those, too. Sharing safewords that let them know you need space and time and providing them guidelines on how to interact with you when you’re overwhelmed can have a positive impact on your relationship.
The Importance of Friends for Mental Health
Why is talking about mental health with your community so important? Your mental health can impact friendships, and if your friends don’t know what’s going on, they might be confused if you’re suddenly distant or unavailable. On another level, having friends who know what you’re experiencing can help you reach out when you need to.
You might not want to open up about mental health with every friend, but choosing one trusted person can expand your support system and make it easier to talk about things like depression, anxiety, and gender identity concerns in the future.
After talking about mental health with a friend, you might feel like a huge weight has been lifted from you. It takes courage to get started, but the benefits will be worth it.
Mental Health Treatment at Ascend Healthcare
Having friends who know about your mental health issues can be a huge source of support. However, it’s important to reach out for professional help when necessary. For teens who are struggling with their mental health, Ascend Healthcare offers comprehensive residential treatment in California that’s tailored to their needs. The personalized treatment programs we offer can help teens build healthy coping skills, keep up with their studies, and become their healthiest self.