This week we are supporting #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. The theme for this year is #BeBodyKind, with a focus on how we think and feel about our body image. With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem this year alone, it is really important that we raise awareness and build confidence in the action of asking each other if we are ok.
Alongside Mental Health Awareness Week, we are also supporting the recent #AskTwice campaign from Time To Talk. This campaign has a focus on encouraging people to ask their friends and family twice. Often, if people are suffering from bad mental health they will try and hide it or keep it inside. By asking twice, they are more likely to open up and talk about how they are feeling.
Some people feel scared that if their friend or family member opens up about their mental health problems, they won't know how to react or how to offer the right support. Remember, you don't have to be an expert to support people with their mental health. The best thing you can do is listen to what they have to say. Below are the steps suggested by Time To Change:
1. Take It Seriously
It takes a lot of confidence for somebody to open up about how they are feeling. Keep calm and take what they are talking about seriously. What can seem silly or unimaginable to you, is reality for somebody else.
2. Listen and Reflect
The best thing you can do is listen. In most cases, the person has been building up their thoughts and feelings for a long time. Talking to somebody about these feelings can offer a huge sense of relief. It is also great if you can reflect on their thoughts with them. Start by saying "that sounds really difficult" or "thank you for telling me".
3. Ask questions
You may feel like you are being invasive by asking questions. However, asking the right questions can help somebody to open up and keep the conversation going. Good questions to ask are: "What does it feel like?", "What kind of thoughts are you having?" or "How can I help?".
4. Don't try and fix it
It isn't your responsibility to make somebodies mental health better overnight. Remember that there are trained professionals available to offer help, support and guidance. By offering an open conversation and by taking notice of how somebody is feeling - you are already doing a great job.
5. Build your knowledge
It is a really good idea to make yourself aware of the symptoms of mental health problems. Doing this may help you to recognise somebody who may be struggling and ask them twice. If you feel like to need to understand more, you can research mental health online through websites such as the Mental Health Foundation, Mind and Time To Change. These websites also offer resources and guidance on how you can support a friend or family member who is struggling by referring them to the right professional service.
All advice above has been written with guidance from the Time To Talk - Guide To Asking Twice. For more information and support click here.
If you or somebody that you know is struggling with mental health please have confidence to talk about it.
Here at GFT, you can contact your Assessor, Tutor or SEO regarding any problems that you are facing.