Four ways to support conversations about mental health

February 1, 2024
two hands holding

It’s time to talk, but how?

Time to Talk Day is about encouraging conversations around mental health to help both ourselves and those around us. There is no pressure to talk if you don’t feel like it, but it can sometimes help to share your feelings with someone else.

1.Think about the time and place

It can be easier to have conversations side by side rather than face to face. Walking, cooking, or playing card games are examples of activities that could take the edge off conversations.  Think about where and when you could talk, the people or the distractions around you.

 2. Give your full attention

If someone is opening up to you, it’s important to give them your full attention so they know you care about what is bothering them. Remove all electronics including your mobile phone, laptop, or TV out of view to avoid disruptions.

3. Ask questions and listen

Asking questions will show that you are interested in the conversation and can give the person an opportunity to express how they’re feeling further. Try by asking questions that are open and not judgemental.

4. Remember, you don’t need a solution just a listening ear

Don’t feel the pressure to provide all the answers, you probably aren’t a trained expert and just listening will help you or the person you are talking to feel better.

Below are some open-ended questions you could use:

  • How have you been feeling lately?
  • How long have you been feeling like this?
  • Is there anything that makes you feel better or worse?
  • What can I do to help/make you feel supported?

We may all experience mental health difficulties from time to time. If you or someone you know is struggling with your mental health, there are services in Portsmouth that you can self-refer to for support.

If you need urgent help, you can call 111 – the NHS non-emergency number. They now have specialist nurses who can support both adults and young people. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free from any phone. You can also visit NHS 111 online.

If you need emergency medical help immediately, call 999.

If you’re not sure where to get support, call a team of friendly experts at the Portsmouth Mental Health Hub on 0300 123 6621 (Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm)