13th April 2021

Having a Conversation about Mental Health

Our theme Speak – Listen – Change is all about having positive conversations about mental health: by speaking openly about mental health we can challenge stigma; by listening deeply to other’s experiences we can create a supportive environment.

Being open to mental health doesn’t have to be awkward!  Being there for someone can make a huge difference to their life.

But mental health problems have been stigmatised for so long in our society, that sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Quaker Life offer some top tips on holding open and respectful conversations about mental health:

  • Put your own immediate concerns to one side and be prepared to listen in the stillness that will allow another’s voice to be heard.
  • Establish that there is no intention to hurt.
  • Let go of any preconceptions you may have and take time to learn about each other’s experience.
  • Avoid making comparisons. These can be hurtful and are rarely useful.
  • The speaker may use language that is strange to you. Try to find out why it is significant to them. When speaking or responding, do so from your heart.
  • A solution may not be what is needed. Open-minded and open-hearted listening often are.

You can download the full leaflet, and view other resources from Quaker Life – they are aimed at Quaker Meetings, but may be useful to others.

There’s been a lot of work in recent years to bring these conversations to the fore, through projects such as Time to Change – which has recently come to an end, but still has an archive of helpful resources.

However, people experiencing mental health problems can also face systematic discrimination – watch this space for articles and actions on making system change over the coming months.

As always, feel free to get in touch to continue these conversations, we love to hear your ideas, questions and suggestions.

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