How to start a conversation with…
Telling people you are struggling can be really hard, but once you do those people can be your greatest allies in dealing with the issues you are facing.
Some people keep quiet because they are scared of losing that friendship, of being judged or of everyone knowing, but having people on your side who know and understand what you are going through can really help.
You don’t have to do this face to face, you can do it however you feel most comfortable.
If you don't feel like you can just start that conversation, try texting them first or asking your brother or sister to ask them to bring it up. Schools can also help in this situation.
If needed you can use this time to set some boundaries to ensure they help you feel better.
They will probably have a lot of questions as they are trying to understand and figure out how they can help you.
They might be struggling to know what to do, especially if they haven’t experienced anything like this before, so having a conversation about how they can help and what you want them to do might make it easier.
If a parent has been abusive towards you, is an alcoholic, drug addict or is the trigger/reason behind how you are feeling, then ensure you have the support from a trusted adult first – this could be another family member or someone from school.
This is simple, by asking “can we have a chat?”, “can I tell you something?” or “have you got a couple of minutes?” you are letting you friend know you have something important to tell them.
One other question they might ask is “have you told anyone else?”. Friends might be able to support you when you approach others for help.
They could get upset, they might tell you something about themselves or someone else they know, so be ready for a range of outcomes.
They might not understand what you mean. If thats the case you could tell them to have a look on this site, where they can find out more and see how others have got help.
Hopefully they will be fully supportive and normally they are, but sometimes people don’t know how to deal with the situation. Figure out how they can best help you and explain how to them, let them know that just by listening and hanging out will they can make a big difference.
They will explain that you are in a safe place to speak openly.
Whoever you chose to speak to at your school with not judge you for what you tell them, they are there to support you.
They might ask if your parents or carers know or if they need to tell them. They may also ask you if your other teachers need to know.
They will ask how you feel (this might involve a sliding scale where you rank how you feel).
They can’t make any promises.
They can also help you access services outside school that could help.
*GP stands for general practitioner of medicine, meaning the doctor you are seeing has some training in all areas of medicine but is not a specialist in one.
Your GP or nurse will not judge you.
For some the next step could be a referral to a counsellor. The doctor will be able to explain what they are doing and what to expect next.
Depending on what help and support the doctor recommends for you, and your age, the doctor may need your parent or carer’s consent, however this would always be discussed with you first.
They might ask what you think has caused or triggered these feelings.
They may also ask if you have spoken to anyone else about it and if you have anyone who can support you.
Remember nothing much surprises Doctors and they will know how to handle your situation.
Some receptionists might ask you to tell them what the appointment is about, but you don’t have to tell them. If this happens you can “it’s about mental health”, or “I’m sorry I don’t feel comfortable discussing that”. Not telling the receptionist what the appointment is about should never stop you having an appointment.
On the day of the appointment you go to the doctor’s surgery and sign in for your allocated time. You will then be told what room to go to when the GP is ready to see you. You can go alone or take someone with you. It’s as simple as that.