Advice

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.

Parents

How to bring it up?
How to bring it up?
How to bring it up?
Go somewhere you feel most comfortable, whether that’s in the kitchen, living room or out of the house. Probably start by saying “I don’t feel right ..."
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.
How your parents may react?
How your parents may react?
How your parents may react?
Your parents may be upset or worried by what you have told them, mainly because you have been going through something alone, they will just want to make sure you are ok. They will probably also feel glad that you have been able to trust them (some might already know something wasn’t quite right). The best thing you can do is let them help.
If needed you can use this time to set some boundaries to ensure they help you feel better.
What they might ask?
What they might ask?
What they might ask?
They will probably ask questions like “how do you feel?”, “has it got worse recently?”, “why do you think you feel that?”, “How long have you felt like this?”, "have you spoken to anyone about this before now?"
They will probably have a lot of questions as they are trying to understand and figure out how they can help you.
What can they do to help you?
What can they do to help you?
What can they do to help you?
Most parents will do everything they can to help you get better. If you are under 16 they will be involved in any medical care you need. They can help you make appointments and be there when you speak to people; either in the room with you or waiting outside.
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.
When not to say anything
When not to say anything
When not to say anything
Whilst we would recommend telling your parents, there are some situations where you might not want to and that’s fine.
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.

Friends

How to bring it up?
How to bring it up?
How to bring it up?
Before you talk to them think about how you want it to go, who you want to tell, and pick a time and place. It might help to plan a little bit but making sure you just speak from the heart is most important thing.
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.
What they might ask?
What they might ask?
What they might ask?
They will probably ask, “how are you doing?”, “can I help?”, “what do you want to do?” or a number of other questions along those lines. These might seem daunting but they are just trying to figure out how they can help you.
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.
How it might affect them?
How it might affect them?
How it might affect them?
Finding out your friend is dealing with any type of mental health issue can be a lot to process, so try not to get too upset if they don’t react the way you want them to.
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.
What they can do to help you?
What they can do to help you?
What they can do to help you?
The best thing a friend can do for you is have your back, help you when you explain it to other people and support you as you deal with what’s happening and as you access 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.

School

Who to approach?
Who to approach?
Who to approach?
It is important that you talk to an adult that you trust. Your school may have a pastoral service or student support team you could talk to. Alternatively, you might feel more comfortable speaking to your school nurse, form tutor or teacher. If you are at secondary school, you could talk to your TURN 2 Us drop in – times and dates for your school are posted in the ‘Who can help’ section of this website.
How to bring it up?
How to bring it up?
How to bring it up?
It is up to you how you tell them. You can do it however is most comfortable for you, you could write it down, email them, ask a friend to tell them or have a chat during a break. It’s up to you.
What they need to might ask?
What they need to might ask?
What they need to might ask?
They will explain confidentiality to you let you know that they may have to share what you tell them with someone else.
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.
What they can do to help you?
What they can do to help you?
What they can do to help you?
They can help you with the support and advice that is available within the school, they can help you figure out how to tell other people and who you need to tell.
They can also help you access services outside school that could help.

GP

 

*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.

How to bring it up?
How to bring it up?
How to bring it up?
The first question doctors or GP’s normally ask is “what can I help you with today?” or “what appears to be the problem?”. All GP’s are trained in how to handle mental health disclosures and will know what to do regardless of your answer. You just need to tell them exactly how you’ve been feeling and for how long.
Your GP or nurse will not judge you.
What might happen next?
What might happen next?
What might happen next?
Depending on what the issue is the treatment or next steps might vary hugely.
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.
What they might ask?
What they might ask?
What they might ask?
They will ask how long you have been feeling that way, and how strong the feelings are. This is too assess how serious it is and how much help you might need to get better.
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.
What happens when you make a doctor's appointment?
What happens when you make a doctor's appointment?
What happens when you make a doctor's appointment?
When you call your doctors surgery you will speak to a receptionist to book your appointment, some surgeries allow you to do this online. Pick an available appointment time that is convenient for you.
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.