Talk it out for your mental health

Rebecca Johnson
Alberta Health Services
It can help to talk with someone about how you’re feeling. They can listen to you or help you look at things differently. They might also be able to help you figure out why you feel like you do.
Talking about things can be helpful in itself. Sharing can make you feel less alone and help relieve the stress of coping by yourself. The other person may be able to offer reassurance, support, information, or help you connect with services.
When choosing someone to talk to, look for someone you’re comfortable with and trust—will respect your privacy, will take you seriously, and will be understanding and accepting.
Things to think about before the conversation:
What kind of help do I want from them?
• Just to talk
• To find out where you can get more info
• Help finding services such as counselling
How do I sant to communicate?
• Face-to-face
• Phone
• Online
• Email
Starting the conversation
• Let them know you have something you want to talk about. You might want to write down what you want to say.
• Start by explaining that you need some help with a problem. Think of some examples from your life as this may help them to better understand what’s going on.
• If you’re not sure how the person will react, try “testing the waters”. For example, talk about a story you read in the news and see how the person reacts. This will give you an idea of their views and whether they’re likely to be sympathetic.
• You could also start conversation more generally—talk about how you’ve not been feeling great, rather than saying you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed.
Be prepared for a range of different reactions. Remember that someone’s first reaction won’t be the same as their reaction when they’ve had time to process what you’ve said. Life’s full of ups and downs, and sharing our experiences with the people who care about us is natural and healthy.

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