Can we talk?

  • Natalie Winterton
Can we talk?
A phrase that can make the colour drop from your face. A phrase that can give you that awful knot in the pit of your stomach. Am I in trouble? What have I done?

Are you okay?
Being able to talk to someone and having someone to talk to are both important things. But don’t always come hand in hand. With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem each year, speaking to each other is more important than ever. Especially for young people.

So, I decided to interview Rea Gill, a student at the University of the West of England studying BSc (Hons) Psychology, to better understand how we as individuals could help support those suffering from a mental health problem.

Tell me about a day in the life of a Mental Health Support Worker.
R: All of my work is client-centred support. I spend my days visiting them and making sure they’re getting help with everything they need. This could be help with cooking or accessing the community, to things like help with benefits applications or even sport! The biggest use of my support time is usually emotional. Being able to have dedicated space for emotional support can make such a big impact on their day.

With the average onset age for depression being just 14 years old, where can young people go to find support?
R: There are loads of fantastic resources out there! A few to mention are Samaritans who are 24/7 and free to call. Papyrus which is a service for under 35’s and SANEline. A lesser-known option is calling NHS 111 as the operators are trained to deal with mental health crisis! And of course, going through your GP will mean you can access psychological therapies via a referral.

How does talking impact those with mental health problems?
R: I find that the best possible thing that someone can do if they’re struggling is to talk. It’s not necessarily about someone being able to help, but more just being able to share the weight with someone. Think of it as instead of you carrying 8 shopping bags back to your car alone, you take 5 and your friend takes 3. You still have the same baggage as before but being able to share it makes it easier to carry.

How can people help those around them suffering from a mental health problem?
R: A lot of the time, people don’t necessarily expect someone to fix all their problems, but just need to vent and have a listening ear. We live in a culture where we always want to draw a direct route from a problem to a solution. The best thing you can do is to reassure someone that you’re there for them to talk to. When they do talk, just be a supportive listening ear and if you feel they need further or more formal support, signpost them to some of the resources above!

We all have mental health and whether it’s to a friend or a trained professional sometimes, talking can make the world of difference.

So, when someone asks ‘Can we talk?’ don’t fear the conversation, as you never know how much it might mean to the other person.

For support or information please contact -
  • The Samaritans - - 116 123
  • Papyrus - - 0800 068 4141
  • SANEline - - 0300 304 7000
  • NHS - - 111

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