News • 04 Feb 2020

5 tips on how to start an open dialogue about mental health

5 tips on how to start an open dialogue about mental health

When you’re not feeling your best, it’s very tough to talk about how you feel. The unusual or uncomfortable feelings are normal. We’ve provided some tips to help you approach someone when discussing mental health, and when someone approaches you.

At Open Minds, we’re supporters of Time to Talk Day – an initiative to break the stigma about mental health and encourage an open dialogue about it.

Time to Talk Day is run by Time to Change, a social movement born out of the UK actively working to end mental health discrimination and change the way people think or act about mental health.

Millions of people around the world have joined the movement by improving their own, and the people around them, outlook and attitudes toward mental health.

Tips for talking about mental health

It can be hard trying to open up about your feelings.  Starting the conversation can be the most difficult step, but once you initiate the open dialogue then it becomes easier to talk with someone you feel comfortable with.

If you don’t feel you have anyone to talk to, there are also a large number of helplines and texting services that may be more suitable to you.  

Lifeline: 13 11 14 – Call 24/7 for crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 – Call for 24/7 advice, referral and support from a trained mental health professional.

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800 – 24/7 private and confidential phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.

eheadspace: 1-on-1 eheadspace clinician via online chat, email or over the phone. You can also join group chats.

How to talk to someone about mental health?

What about if someone you cared about approached you to talk about a mental health problem they’re having?

Would you know how to respond? How would you support and care for them?

There’s no one right way to how to start the conversation with someone, but it’s about making sure you are there for them and knowing they can approach you.

Here are some simple ways you can start a conversation about mental health when it’s time to talk:

•    Be patient
•    Let them know you are there for them and are concerned
•    Acknowledge how it can be hard to open up and discuss personal feelings
•    Listen – a lot of people don’t want an answer from you, they just need to talk
•    Encourage they access resources, information or support by pointing them in the right direction such as help lines or online chats

Who to talk to if you need support

Not everyone has somebody readily available to talk to about mental health.

For young people aged between 12 and 25, Open Minds operates two headspace centres in Queensland, headspace Taringa and headspace Redcliffe.

Find a centre near you and make an appointment if you are a young person going through a tough time.

You can also be of any age to access our Open Minds Mental Health Hub at Morayfield if you are in need of support.

You can also access an online peer support forum here.