We’ve all heard them..most of us have said them ..but today the 80-plus organisations behind the See Change partnership have launched a new video tackling those old mental health clichés that are really quite unhelpful when supporting someone who is going through a tough time or encouraging more openness around mental health.
While most of us are well-meaning or maybe just unsure of what to say, phrases like “Pull yourself together” or “You just need a night out” can actually come across as quite dismissive and prevent someone from opening up.
Stigma breeds silence around mental health that stops people seeking help and makes the experience of being unwell much harder.
Is it any wonder that See Change research found that 1 in 2 Irish people would rather suffer in silence?
It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t need to be an expert to start talking about mental health or have all the answers. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is to let someone know that you are there for them and simply listen.
If you think that someone might be experiencing a difficulty, make it clear that you’ve noticed that they don’t seem like their usual self and suggest that if they ever want to talk that you’ll be there. If you know someone has been unwell, don’t be afraid to ask how they are. They might want to talk about it, they might not. But just letting them know they don’t have to avoid the issue with you is important.
Are you ready to start your conversation?
- Talk, but listen too: Simply being there will mean a lot.
- Take your lead from the person: As a first step, ask them how best you can help.
- Avoid the clichés: Phrases like ‘Cheer up’, ‘I’m sure it’ll pass’ and ‘Pull yourself together’ definitely won’t help – Being open minded, non-judgemental and listening will.
- Take the pressure off yourself: You don’t have to rush to find solutions or comparisons: We often fall into the trap of jumping straight in with something positive or wanting everything to be ‘okay’ but what the other person really needs is to be listened to.
- Keep in touch: There are lots of small ways of showing support – Send a text or just ask someone ‘how they’re doing”
- Don’t just talk about mental health: Just be yourself, chat about everyday things as well.
Who’s on board? Read about the 86 partner organisations behind the See Change partnership.
This video was produced by Riyadh Khalaf, titles by Evan Heritage and filmed on location at the UCD Student Centre.