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How to Talk

Mental Health

Start the Conversation

  • Don't ignore it. If you think someone is struggling, have a conversation. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it has to start somewhere. It is generally a family member or close friend who helps bring awareness to the man in need.​

  • Ask questions: "How are you doing, really". "I've noticed you haven't been joining us lately, how are you feeling".

  • Do not make assumptions or subjective statements:  "You seem depressed". "What's going on, seems like you've been really off".

  • Do not use dimeaning phrases or minimize what they're expeiencing: Terms like psycho, crazy or 'issues' will shut them down. Same goes for phrases like, "others probably have it way worse, look at the bright side". Validate their feelings, don't shut it down.

  • If someone opens up to you, listen intently. Let them finish their sentences, acknowledge that you hear, understand and empathize with their experience.

  • You don't need to provide a solution, just be there for him.

Show Your Support

  • It seems simple, but be nice, caring and sincere. They are looking for positive reinforcement.

  • Encouraging words go a long way. "No matter what happens, I'm here to help". "Any time you want to discuss more, don't hesitate to give me a call".

  • One conversation will not be enough. Stay in contact with him. Offer availability over phone, text, email, coffee, etc. Let them know you are a safe person to discuss their feelings with.

Offer Help

  • Everyone is different here, so feel it out. Bottom line is to let them know you are willing to help.

  • This could be as simple as, "let's talk once a week".

  • It could be more direct: Recommending a therapist you or a friend likes, offering to send resources like articles/ books or just being mindful to include them in more social activities. 

Here are some additional resources on how to begin a conversation around mental health:

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