How to speak up about your mental health

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Health Assured team

19 October 2022

According to recent figures, 1-in-5 students have a diagnosed mental health problem. 

For many students, being able to talk about their mental health is necessary to get the support they need. However, persistent stigmas make it increasingly difficult for students to open up and seek help.

We must work to break this stigma and create a society where students feel comfortable sharing their worries and experiences. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms associated with mental illness and provide some tips to help you open up and share your feelings.


Understanding the symptoms

The symptoms associated with mental illness vary from person to person. There may not always be a clear sign that you are struggling with poor mental health. 

It’s critical to recognise and understand the symptoms of mental illness. So, if you are struggling, you can get the support you need. The following are some of the common signs/symptoms of mental illness:

  • Sleeping too much or too little 
  • Arguing with friends and family 
  • Excessive fears or worries 
  • Low energy and mood 
  • Quiet and withdrawn
  • Alcohol or substance abuse 

The above is not an exhaustive list. However, if you notice any of these signs/symptoms in yourself - you may want to reach out and talk to someone. 


How to talk about your mental health?

Mental health problems are nothing to be ashamed of; many students are struggling with mental health issues and trying to find the best ways to cope. It's important to remember that you are not alone.

Talking about your mental health (although difficult) is a great technique to help you cope with and manage any problems. To help with this, we have provided some tips to help you open up and share your feelings.


  1. Find the right communication method for you

The first time you talk about your mental health can be daunting. So, it’s necessary to find the best way you want to communicate your problems. Maybe you want to sit with someone face-to-face, write it in a letter, or call someone over the phone. There is no wrong way to share your feelings. Whatever makes you feel most comfortable and secure.


  1. Find a comfortable place to talk

When you feel ready to talk about your mental health, it can help to find a place where you feel comfortable. Wherever is best for you; maybe that's a calm and quiet place, walking around the park or chatting over a cup of coffee. If you start the conversation somewhere you feel secure - you will be more likely to open up and share your true feelings.


  1. Practice what you want to say

The first time you open up is a big step forward. So, it’s necessary to know what you want to say. Maybe you can write it down or record it as a voice note, so you get a chance to talk about everything you want to. 

If you don’t get to talk about everything, don’t worry. There will be plenty of opportunities to speak to your friends or family. Take it slow and give yourself credit; you’ve taken a big step forward and should continue to reach out for support when needed. 


  1. Open and honest communication

When you feel ready to talk, you must be open and honest with yourself and other people. It can be hard to open up and share exactly how you're feeling; you might not want to share such personal aspects of yourself.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to be transparent when discussing your mental health. If you are open and honest about your situation, this can help those around you to understand your struggles – and help you find the right solution for your situation.


  1. Remember you are not alone

When you’re feeling low, it can be hard to rationalise your feelings. It’s important to remember that mental health problems are common; most people have ups and downs. As mentioned, 1-in-5 students have a diagnosed mental health condition – so it’s likely that someone you know is struggling with something similar to yourself. By understanding the commonality of mental health conditions, you can realise that you are not alone in your struggles and that talking about your mental health is helpful for yourself and those around you. 

When you open up to someone, it may inspire that person to talk about their mental health. This knock-on effect is essential for creating a society where mental health is not stigmatised - and people feel comfortable opening up and sharing their inner feelings. 

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