Impact on Families
Produced by: Laura Sansom
It can be incredibly hard for a parent to see their child living with a mental health condition.
How to Have a Conversation With a Loved One About Mental Health
From the perspective of someone living with a mental health condition:
- Have a gameplan going into it - Any athlete knows that without the proper gameplan, they won’t be able to defeat their opponent. In this scenario, the individual is the athlete and this conversation about your mental health condition is what you’re trying to conquer. One way to squash your anxiousness is by writing out what you want to say beforehand. This way, you’ll know what it is that you want to accomplish by talking to a friend.
- Start by setting the tone - When you’re talking to a friend or family member about your mental health, try not to just dive into the conversation right from the get-go. Starting the conversation by saying “I want to talk to you about something important that’s been going on. I’m not necessarily asking for advice but I just need someone to listen. Is that okay with you?
- Be as specific as possible - If the friend or family member you’re talking to doesn’t live with a mental health condition -- or even if they do -- it is best to give them as specific an example as you possibly can. This can help your friend begin to get a feel for what you’re going through.
- You don’t need to share everything - If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your friend or family member about every explicit detail of what you’re feeling, you don’t have to! Use your best judgement and view each conversation with a friend on a case-by-case basis.
From the perspective of the friend:
- Listen - The best thing you can do for a friend or family member who is opening up to you about a mental health condition they are living with is to listen to them -- not just hear them -- and show your concern.
- Watch your body language - Like in most scenarios in life, your body language sends louder messages than the words you say. If you’re slouching, looking the other way, etc., you are going to give off the impression that you don’t care, you don’t believe them, or that their feelings are invalid. Try to maintain focus and eye contact as best you can.
- Try not to compare their experiences with your own - Two people living with the same mental health condition could feel two completely different ways, so don’t assume you know how they feel.
- Don't gossip - This conversation you are having with your friend or family member should not be public knowledge, unless they tell you that you can tell other people in our friend group, family, etc. If it is a dire situation and you’re extremely concerned for your friend’s safety, tell a professional or an adult but in any other scenario, keep this conversation between you and your friend.
Written by: John Williams
Produced by: Kelly Bush
Relationships with friends can take a toll on your mental health the story above showcases how important awareness and support is.
Produced by: Rahmere Griffin
Many people living with a mental health condition often find it difficult to share their diagnosis with their family members because of fear and stigma.
Produced by: John Williams
The family is a critical support system for every individual. For some individuals who live with a mental health condition, this could be a good thing. For others, it could be a source of more problems to follow.