It can be hard for our young people to talk about their mental health. The last couple of years have been incredibly difficult for so many of us, especially for the young people in our lives. Life can be so overwhelming, for adults and young people. It is so important for people to talk openly about our struggles and difficulties. To young people, they might not understand their feelings and why they feel so down or overwhelmed at times. It can be difficult for our young people to talk about their mental health, but here are some tips on making it easier.
1 Think About What To Say
Writing things down before having the conversation can help keep to the topic. It could be written in words, or even a picture can help to stimulate conversation. Thinking about what to say beforehand can help to feel more prepared and confident. For some, talking might be too much so maybe writing a letter, or an email or Whatsapp. As long as it helps to get the conversation going, it doesn’t matter how it is started.
2 What Do You Want To Happen
It can be helpful to think about what the outcome will be. What is the end goal? What do you want to achieve? You might not know what you want to achieve, but having a few ideas will help when you talk to someone. It could be that you feel you need to speak to a professional or you need to stop doing a certain activity or you need some help at school.
3 Who To Talk To?
Parents always want to be the person that their children come to for help, but that isn’t always the case. It may be that there is someone else that is more suitable to talk to about how you’re feeling. Think about who you trust and feel comfortable with, this could be a teacher, friend or counsellor perhaps. Some charities offer support to children to help with their mental health such as BullyingUK and YoungMinds.
4 Where To Talk
If you are worried about having the conversation then think about where you are going to bring it up. Sometimes talking during an activity is helpful as there is something else to add a small distraction. These could be, driving in a car, walking a dog or washing dishes. Activities that require little eye contact can help to make the conversation more comfortable.
5 Your Feelings Are Justified
Mental health challenges can happen at any age, so just because you are a young person, this doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to you. However, you are feeling is justified and acceptable. Everyone’s problems are all relative and even if you feel yours are small in comparison to others, everything is relative to us and our lives. Your emotions are not less valid just because of your age.
6 Silence Is Acceptable
Talking about feelings and emotions and mental health can be difficult for everyone, not just you but the person you are talking to. It is perfectly acceptable to have silence during these conversations, between you and the person you are with. Try not to fill gaps in the conversation, use this time to gather your thoughts and ideas, and the other person will be able to do the same.
7 Continue To Talk
Maybe you have tried to start the conversation once and it didn’t quite go the way you needed/wanted it to. If you feel the conversation is incomplete then ensure you try again. As mentioned before, it can be hard to talk about mental health challenges but you must keep talking and keep being honest about your feelings and emotions.
8 Accept The Support
Whoever you have chosen to talk to will want to help. They will offer you advice and support and because you have chosen to speak to someone means that you want the support they are offering. You might not know what is the best solution to the problem but an adult will be able to guide you.
Life Moves On
Some of you may be moving on to University in September this year. This could be the first time away from your parents which is a daunting thought in itself. So we have prepared some advice on how to manage your mental health at Uni.
Why Is It So Hard To Talk About Mental Health?
The prevalence of stigma surrounding mental health is still an issue that our society needs to address. This stigma causes people to not want to open up and talk, but this is the best way to deal with mental health and to help everyone heal. Think about who you feel comfortable to talk to and someone who you can trust and have an open and honest conversation.
How Do I Talk To My Friend About Mental Health?
Give them time to process what you have said. Don’t overwhelm them with too much information, and you could use a book or website to help them understand. This will help if they don’t have much knowledge about your issues.
All clinicians at Oxford CBT are qualified in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, some are also Psychologists. Offering evidence-based interventions and support for a range of difficulties for both young people and adults. If you would like to discuss your needs further or have a question please get in touch via our online contact form or call us on 01865 920077.
Interested to find out How can we meet the increasing mental health needs of children and adolescents in 2023? For this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week, we teamed up with Classlist on this blog! Read in full here.