Do you sometimes struggle with opening up about your mental health challenges? Do you find yourself in situations where you know sharing your feelings could improve the outcome, but you just can’t? Maybe this February 3rd, you can find that opportunity to share, and in turn help others!
Founded by Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and Co-op, Time to Talk Day is held every February 3rd and is a day to encourage others to start conversations about mental health issues, listen, and create opportunities to change lives for the better. While we’re always here at Traini Counseling Group to lend a helping hand (and ear,) we want to encourage you this February to reach out, connect with the Flint, MI community, your peer groups, your employer and young people in your life, and encourage them to start having authentic conversations about mental health issues.
So, How Do You Start a Conversation about Mental Health?
While we’re all a little socially rusty from the COVID-19 pandemic, you don’t need to be an extrovert or health care provider to start talking about mental health struggles. Here a few tips to get the ball rolling and help others who may be having a tough time:
- Open up about your own struggles. Phrases like “I’ve been feeling down lately, but once I started talking about the things on my mind, it really helped” can cue others into letting them know you’re a safe person to talk to and that they’re welcome to share.
- Trust your gut. Have an inkling someone is hurting? They probably are. Destigmatize mental illnesses by talking about them. Ask them if work is stressing them out and causing anxiety, let them know you’re there to listen, or ask them simply if they’d like to vent about anything.
- Don’t be afraid to circle back. Sometimes timing is everything. If someone doesn’t feel like sharing today, don’t be hesitant to try and open up the conversation again later.
- Thank them for sharing. Encourage future conversations by thanking that person for sharing their innermost feelings and thoughts and that you’ll be there for them in the future.
- Follow up! And last but not least, don’t just leave it at that single conversation. Even saying something as simple as “Hey! I’ve been thinking about you” down the road can mean the world to another.
Starting a Conversation in Your Community
These next few tips can help you start some community conversations about mental health, particularly within Flint, MI and Genesee County. Don’t worry, all of these activities are applicable to any community!
- Host a “Cups & Conversations” or “Tea & Talk” event at a local coffee shop, like Rootless Coffee Co. or Dorothy’s Coffee House. Relaxed settings like these can help others gather to share difficult conversations.
- Is your child a part of the Flint Community Sports Program? Give out tip cards to parents that share information about how to start conversation about mental illness with young people and warning signs. Are you a coach? Let your team know you’re there not only for their physical health, but for their mental health as well.
- Own a business in Flint? This is a great time to encourage healthy conversations and check in on your own employees. Host a luncheon at work from a fabulous local restaurant (here’s just a few ideas) and check in on everyone. How are they handling stress? Do they feel they have the right mental health services? Don’t be afraid to ask!
While these are just a few ways to start connecting with your friends, family and community, it certainly isn’t an exhaustive list. Mental health conditions vary and sometimes short conversations may not be enough. When that becomes the case, know that Traini Counseling Group is always here for you, whether you suffer from anxiety, depression, ADHD or other mental health issues.
Lastly, make a promise to yourself this February to share your struggles and in turn help others on national Time to Talk day. We believe in you!