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Time to Talk – Tips for talking about Mental Health

A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference, Time to Talk Day on February the 4th is a chance for thousands of people to join together for one day and tackle the stigma around mental health.

Talking about mental health is not always easy. But starting a conversation doesn’t have to be difficult or awkward. There is no right way to talk about mental health, but these tips will guide you to make sure you are approaching it in a helpful way.


1. Ask questions and listen 

Asking questions can give the person space to express how they’re feeling and what they’re going through, and it will help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgemental – such as “how does that affect you” or “what does it feel like?”

2. Think about the time & place 

Sometimes it’s easier to talk side by side rather than face to face. So, if you do talk in person, you might want to chat while you are doing something else. You could start a conversation when you’re walking, cooking or stuck in traffic. However, don’t let the search for the perfect place put you off!

3. Don’t try & fix it 

It can be hard to see someone you care about having a difficult time but try to resist the urge to offer quick fixes to what they’re going through. Learning to manage or recover from a mental health problem can be a long journey, and they’ve likely already considered lots of different tools and strategies. Just talking can be really powerful, so unless they’ve asked for advice directly, it might be best just to listen.

4. Treat them the same 

When someone has a mental health problem, they’re still the same person as they were before. And that means when a friend or loved one opens up about mental health, they don’t want to be treated any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you’d normally do.

5. Be patient

No matter how hard you try, some people might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through. That’s ok – the fact that you’ve tried to talk to them about it may make it easier for them to open up another time.


Where to find support

  • For further information and resources ahead of Time to Talk Day visit
  • Citizens Advice Peterborough offers free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of issues that may affect our mental wellbeing including; unemployment, debt management, money advice, prevention of homelessness and familial issues. Speak to one of our advisers by calling our Adviceline number 0808 278 7850 (freephone from landlines and mobiles) or visit our website
  • If you’re experiencing mental health issues or need urgent support, you can access further resources on the Time to Change website
  • Contact Samaritans on 116 123 (24 hours a day) or visit the Samaritans website
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