Opening up about your mental health
Talking to people who care about you can help you look after your mental health and cope with how you’re feeling.
But it might feel scary, or you might not know where to start. You might be nervous about telling people what’s going on, or don’t know what to say to them. We’re here to help you find a way that works best for you.
Why should I open up about how I feel?
It’s okay to feel worried about telling someone how you feel or what you’ve been going through. But trying to deal with things on your own can make you feel worse.
Talking to someone you trust can help you to:
- Feel like you’re not alone
- Feel supported by the people around you
- Help other people understand what you’re going through
- Get support with practical things
- Find out that other people have been through similar things
- Find support to help with how you’re feeling or what you’re experiencing
- Stop things from getting worse
- Start to feel better
When should I open up?
There’s no perfect time to open up. But remember: whatever you’re going through, you don’t need to cope on your own. We all deserve support.
You might want to think about opening up about your feelings or what you’re experiencing if:
- You’re struggling to cope with how you feel
- You’ve been through or are going through something difficult
- You’re not feeling yourself
- You’re finding it hard to cope with everyday life
- You want someone to know how you’ve been feeling
- It’s affecting your relationships
- You feel you want or need help
You can open up about how you’re feeling at any time – you don’t have to wait for it to get worse. The sooner you can open up, the sooner you might start to feel better. And it’s never too late to talk about how you feel.
Who could I talk to?
You don’t just have to talk to family, carers, friends or partners about how you’re feeling. You might find it easier to talk to someone you don’t know as well or aren’t as close to. Other people that can help might be:
- Other staff at school, like school counsellors, nurses, pastoral leads or teaching assistants
- Your doctor
- Youth club workers
- Sports coaches
- Social workers
- Religious leaders or people from your faith group
Remember that even if one person doesn’t understand, or is unsure how to help you, you can always try opening up to someone else. Everyone reacts differently and it’s not your fault if they do not understand.
What if they don’t understand?
Sometimes we don’t get the reaction we want when we talk to others about how we’re feeling. If they don’t understand or don’t take you seriously, it’s not your fault. It could be that they feel shocked and just need time to think about what you’ve told them.
Even if you feel hurt, it might help to try talking to someone else you trust or just give them time and try again. You could try a different way of telling them, like writing them a letter or leaving them a voicenote.
If they still don’t understand, it might help to say “you might not understand why I feel the way I do, but I need you to accept it and help me by… ”
What if I don’t have anyone to talk to?
You might feel like you can’t talk to anyone about what’s going on with you, or they just don’t understand. There are many other ways you can find support for yourself, but it could help to try talking to:
- Childline. Runs a 24-hour helpline with counsellors trained to listen and support you. Also offers online message boards and 1-2-1 web chat for children and young people.
- The Mix. Offers a helpline, email service, crisis textline and online message boards for anyone needing support.
- YoungMinds. Provides a crisis text messenger service and online message boards. Also offers information about mental health problems.
If you want some information or advice, get in touch with us. We’re here to help too. Call us on 01482 240133 or email [email protected]. If you don’t want to ring us, you can also chat to us using the chat box in the corner of this page.
Information credit: Mind (2022)