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  • Writer's picturePRSL

How To Talk To Your Loved Ones About Mental Health

Whether you yourself struggle, or you’re trying to reach out to a loved one who does, approaching the topic of mental health can be difficult. You may be worried about triggering someone, or what stigma may be impressed on them, and walking on eggshells...which isn’t good for anyone.

So, how do you approach someone on the topic of mental health? We’ve compiled a few ways you can start having those hard conversations.

Start Testing the Waters

If you’re not sure how they’ll handle a conversation about mental health, you can subtly start testing their reactions and responses. Start bringing mental health and therapy up in casual conversation and watch what happens; do they dismiss it, or do they seem interested in the conversation? This can be a great starting point.

Use Pop Culture

If you’re not ready to start bringing it up unprompted or in relation to yourselves, try using pop culture as a catalyst! Plenty of tv shows, movies, and songs provide material to start the conversation; play a song in the car, have a movie night, and then talk about mental health in relation to the characters or band members. This can be a great way to have a preliminary conversation without the pressure of applying the known personal connection.

Be Tactful

When having these discussions, it’s very, very important to approach with care. This can protect both you and your loved one, and avoid a trigger that you may not be aware of. Take the time to think about the best approach for the person you’re talking to; is direct better, or is easing them in the answer? Do they tend to get defensive and shut down? Or are they open and ready for conversations most of the time? How do they handle other difficult conversations?

If you’re not sure how best to talk to your loved one, it could be a good idea to bring it up with a mental health professional. Based on your interactions with your loved one in the past, the professional may be able to provide you with tools to tackle the subject of mental health.

Take the Plunge

Sometimes no amount of hinting is going to work, and the best approach for talking about something difficult is to just dive in and address the elephant in the room. Sit your loved one down and put it out there, like ripping off a bandaid. It might be difficult and a little painful at first, but the end result could help produce the healing that you both need.

This could be especially true if you think one of you is in need of professional mental health help. By addressing the issue, you’ll be able to gain access to those resources and get the much-needed assistance for your personal situation.

Be Supportive, and Don’t Avoid the Conversation

The worst thing that can happen when talking to someone about mental health is that they are dismissive or avoidant of the issue. If you are approaching someone about their mental health, be sure to be as supportive as you can be. And if someone approaches you? Don’t just shrug it off. By talking about mental health, we can work together to strike down the stigmas surrounding the conversation. And who knows? You could save a life.


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