At any time, 1 in 4 of us experience a problem related to our mental health. It can be hard enough for someone to reach out to a friend at the best of times. Right now, in a much more restricted world, it is even harder for those who need to be heard.
Statistically, men find it more difficult to share how they are feeling. Letting a mate suffer in silence could have drastic effects on their mental health. If he says he’s fine, don’t take his word for it. That second ‘how are you, really?’ can make the world of difference.
A charity for spreading mental health awareness, Time to Change are now looking to break the stigma around men sharing how they really feel.
Ask Twice is their latest campaign. If you notice a mate acting differently, maybe they’ve gone unusually quiet, the guidance from Time to Change will hopefully give you the confidence you need to approach the subject and ask twice.
Listen – it is often more important than talking and you don’t have to have all the answers. Allowing your mate to say what is on their mind can make a big difference.
Show that you’re taking on board what they’re saying and acknowledging how they really feel. You can do this saying something simple like “that sounds really difficult”.
You don’t have to ask them lots of questions. You don’t really need to say anything at all. It’s not your job to find the solution, but being there to listen will mean so much.
It can be difficult to open up, especially if you think your mate won’t understand. Remember what they’re going through is real to them, and be the supportive friend you’ve always been.
Showing you care and taking on board what they’re saying is important. If you want to dig a little deeper, but without pressuring them, it’s OK to ask questions like “What kind of thoughts are you having?”, “How can I help?”
It doesn’t hurt to go in prepared with resources at your disposal. If your friend opens up, knowing where to point them will not only be of help, it will show them that you’re taking everything in and they can really benefit from talking.
Your local council might also be prepared to offer support. Some councils have a crisis line and can point you in the direction of the best help that is available.
Don’t let a mate suffer in silence. Remember, if you notice anything different about somebody, ask twice. It might just be all they need to start to feel better.