Part 3: Talking about Mental Health
Diagnosing a mental health condition is an important first step, as well as outlining preferences and goals. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment, but a combination of therapy, medication, and self-care make recovery a reality for most people experiencing mental illness.
One important way to help people take the first step in addressing their mental health condition is to encourage them to talk about it. So often, we hear people share openly about physical illnesses – “I’m late to my cardiologist appointment!” or “These physical therapy exercises are really making a difference in my range of motion.” – and there’s no reason the same can’t be true for mental illness.
If you’re experiencing a mental health condition, it’s your choice how you want to share your story.
If you do choose to share openly or even with close friends, consider the following points:
- There’s no such thing as an ideal situation to share with others. Waiting for the perfect moment in a quiet space where no one else is around and you can sit face-to-face with someone and be in the right mood might mean that it never happens! Consider discussing your mental health while doing another activity, such as walking the dog, shopping, or relaxing at a coffee shop.
- Feel free to tell others you don’t know how to share your story or are unsure how they might take it.
- Decide what experiences you are comfortable sharing and know that you can always say, “I don’t want to talk about that right now,” if there’s something you don’t want to discuss.
- Family and friends may not know how to support you but want to find ways to help. You may have to guide them to ensure their good intentions are constructive to your journey. Being specific on ways to help, such as helping to find a doctor or requesting their help shopping for groceries or setting up a code word for when you need extra reassurance can help you build and maintain your support network.
However you’re feeling, there are people who can help if you’re struggling with your mental health. If you have concerns about your mental health, please contact your primary care provider or mental health professional.