How to talk about mental health

How to talk about mental health

by Bianca Castro |

Asking about mental health can be difficult and we can be unsure what to say...


  • Listen without judgment
  • Ask: ‘How can I help?’
  • Let them know you care
  • Validate their feelings
  • Tell them you want to hear — they’re not a burden
  • Listen with the intention to understand, not fix
  • Ask when you have time to listen
  • Be patient
  • Keep in touch even if you get no response
  • Empathise


  • Interrupt or speak over them
  • Tell them how they should feel
  • Jump in with solutions
  • Belittle their feelings
  • Pressure them to speak
  • Tell them the illness or feelings they have are a choice
  • Say: ‘You just need to…’ (It’s not that simple)
  • Diagnose them when you’re not qualified
  • Be scared to speak about feelings
  • Leave them out
  • Be critical or blaming

A Toolkit for Modern Life: 53 Ways to Look After Your Mind by Dr Emma Hepburn is published by Greenfinch, £12.99. You can also find her on Instagram @thepsychologymum

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