Posted: May 23, 2018 Contributor: administrator

DO’s & DON’Ts of Mental Health Discussions

With one in five adults struggling with mental health issues every day, why is the topic still so stigmatized? In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re encouraging everyone to stand up and be proactive, whether that means volunteering at a help center, becoming more educated on the current mental health landscape, or sitting down with a loved one for an uplifting discussion.
We understand it can be a highly sensitive subject, making it crucial to be well versed in the do’s and don’ts of a mental health discussion. Below are some tips to keep in mind as you open up these conversations.

DO:

– Start slow. Ease into the conversation to create a comfortable and accepting environment for everyone.
– Keep the conversation relaxed and non-confrontational.
– Use “I statements,” for instance, ”I have noticed lately…” or “I just want you to know…”
– Be sensitive and understanding.
– Listen, listen, listen!
– Encourage healthy coping mechanisms, and discourage negative.
– Be of assistance, offering to schedule and take them to an appointment with a mental health professional, if they agree.

DON’T:

– Use dismissive language like “you’ll get over it” or “snap out of it.”
– Imply you know how they are feeling unless you have also struggled with the same illness.
– Use the words “crazy,” “psycho,” or other words that stigmatize their illness.
– Pressure them to do something they don’t want to do. Everyone makes progress at their own pace.
– Get angry with them or show any frustration. Empathize with them.
– Blame them

For more information on how you can help and support yourself or a loved one in kick-starting their mental health journey, visit mentalhealth.gov

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