How to Tell Someone About Your Mental Health Issues

When you’re struggling to cope in your day to day life, it can help to confide in someone you trust. Of course, dealing with depression, anxiety, substance abuse or any other mental health problem can be frightening. Because of this, it’s quite normal to worry about how others will react if they found out. However, if you can overcome this fear, you might find that talking to someone can make the world of difference.

To help you, we’ve put together a guide to telling a loved one that you are struggling with mental illness…

Think about what you want to say

friends talking about mental health

The first step to communicating your mental health issues is figuring out what it is you want to say. Do you want to let them know simply so they are aware of what you’re feeling and how it might impact your day to day life? Perhaps you’re looking for some ongoing support and want to communicate that there might be days when you will need someone to keep you company? Whatever it is, it can be helpful to write down these thoughts. This will give you a clear idea of what should be said and why you feel it will help you.

One common problem with talking about mental illness is that it can be difficult to explain how you’re feeling. When telling someone that you are suffering with a mental health problem, it’s important that you do so in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

If you find that you’re having trouble figuring out what to say, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do I feel?
  • How often do I feel this way?
  • What causes me to feel this way?
  • How does it affect areas of my life such as work, school or social occasions?

For example, if you are suffering from depression, you might want to say: “I feel sad a lot, and during these times I don’t feel like there is anything that will make me happy. This can sometimes affect my work/school/social life, as I feel unmotivated because of it.”

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to tell someone how you’re feeling. Nor is there a right or wrong amount of information to tell. At the end of the day, it’s about your wellbeing and comfort. With this in mind, be sure to do what feels best for your situation. 

talk about mental health

Plan how you will say it

Once you have figured out what you want to say, the next step is deciding how and when you want to say it. Choosing a place where you feel comfortable and at ease is best. This will allow you to focus on the task of communicating how you’re feeling without anything else getting in the way.

If the thought of telling someone in person is just too much to bear, there are plenty of other methods that might be more suited to you. Things like writing a letter, an email or even saying it over the phone might make you feel more at ease. It’s important to remember that your wellbeing is top priority through this entire process. So if you find yourself feeling stressed, anxious or upset be sure to take a step back.

What to expect once you have told them…

When you tell someone about your mental health problems, it’s common for them to have a few questions. After all, they are very likely someone who cares about you and therefore want to make sure you’re okay. Perhaps they don’t have much experience supporting someone with these kinds of issues and need a little more help understanding.

Both of these situations are perfectly normal and understandable. If you struggle to answer any questions that might come up, there’s no need to fret. Instead, you can tell them there are a few websites that do a great job of explaining things further, such as Beyond Blue or Black Dog.

As hard as it may seem at first, opening up about your mental health issues to someone you trust can be an important step in the right direction. For further help with your mental health and wellbeing, Ok To Talk can assist you in finding the right psychologist for your needs. Start the process today by clicking here.