Communication And Mental Health: Why Is It The Key To Mental Wellness
In a recent panel discussion organized by Calm Sage, I found all the panelists were focusing on one major mental health tip that was “communication.” The theme of the panel was: “Social stigmas and mental health.” I was a part of the same and I too focused on the role of communication on mental health. But while we discussed how important it is to communicate your mental health needs I think it is also required to understand the areas where we have to start focusing on and how we can communicate our mental health needs.
Communication and Mental Health in Family & Schools
“It all starts at home.” When you start communicating about mental health generally and casually at home, just like you talk about physical health, you will be able to see the difference globally. Generally, we try to hush the issues related to mental health in our home.
That’s why even if someone does not feel okay, they try to hide their feelings and thoughts under this carpet. Therefore to begin with, you should start talking about mental health issues like sadness, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and more at home first.
Apart from home, the second social institute that a child belongs to should also focus on communication on mental health. I am referring to school here. Nowadays almost every school has a counselor but little do the kids know how to contact them and communicate their needs to them. That’s why mental health should also be made a part of the curriculum.
Communication and Mental Health to Recover
An individual who is mentally distressed in one way or the other finds it even more difficult to communicate their mental health needs. And if while communicating an individual is only listened to and not being heard, that makes it even more difficult to initiate it next time. Therefore, we as a family, professional, friend, or even stranger should build on our listening skills.
Research has shown that how well we communicate can help produce positive outcomes for the other person by building relationships and helping them in the road of recovery. So, imagine if putting up effective communication with someone can heal them, won’t you do it proactively? Be generous. Be non-judgmental. Be a great listener. Be a healer.
Communication and Mental Health in Breaking the Stigmas
Have you ever wondered what makes the stigma grow and remain like the way they are forever? The reason is that we knowingly or unknowingly fuel these stigmas by not talking about them. So, to break these stigmas and direct them in a positive light communication is the ultimate key.
Here is a small activity for you. Think of a stigma around mental health and communicate over it with at least one person today. How will this help? Simple! By doing so you are breaking one brick down and educating someone by demystifying the myths around it.
Communication and Mental Health to Build Relationships
It is often seen that an individual with one or the other mental health condition tries to be under a shell, avoids communicating, and has poor relationships with others. Well, this all can be ended by simply encouraging a person to communicate over mental health.
By being open and clear about their needs, they will not only get the support that they need but will also heal effectively. Why? Because they will have you or someone to talk to, share their concerns with, and build a healthy and supportive relationship again.
Watch the full panel discussion here:
What can you do to improve communication for better mental health?
1. Communicating about your mental health
Here are some ways through which you can communicate about your mental health:
1. Look for time.
First of all, look for a time frame wherein you can swipe into a deep discussion with someone. So, that you don’t have to cut on your concerns or rush on the same.
2. Select a platform.
Pick the platform that you are comfortable communicating through. It can be face-to-face, over the phone call, through texts, or even via letter. This way you can prepare yourself to open up.
3. Build up a phrase.
Often when you start to communicate your mental health needs you don’t know where to begin with and end up running out of words. So, to avoid such situations that might make you second guess yourself. To help you with it we are suggesting a phrase here: “I have some important concerns on my mind and I want to talk to you about them. If you can please take some time for the same.”
4. Just open up.
Once you come so far in the process there is no looking back. Just communicate your mental health needs and open up about them. You can also start by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To know more about how to communicate your mental health needs when no one wants to hear it click here.
2. Aiding Someone Communicates their Mental Health
Now that you know how you can communicate your mental health to others here is how you can attend to others.
Listen to them. Be all ears and listen to them actively. Try not to interrupt them while they are completing their sentences.
1. Keep your judgments away.
Don’t judge them for whatever they have to communicate. Avoid labeling them, judging them, and making fun of them. Instead, be empathetic and acknowledge their feelings and thoughts.
2. Make yourself available to them.
When someone has trusted you, is trying to reach you, make sure you are available to him. Give your time to them and tell them that you are available for them for the next time as well when they want to communicate their needs. This will reassure them that they have made the right decision to open up.
3. Value confidentiality; don’t make it gossip.
While the other person is sharing the deepest, darkest, and important aspects of his life, does value their confidentiality. Think of it this way. Out of their big friend group they picked you to open up to. So, respect their decision and communication.
4. Show them that you understand.
When an individual has any mental health concern one thought that they tend to carry with them is: “no one will understand me.” It is thus important for you to give them the message that “yes” I understand you through your words, actions, and emotions. This will build up their confidence in themselves. Also, if you are not sure of anything it is advised that you research well before passing on any information.
Now that you have understood the importance of communication in mental health it is your time to work on the measures discussed above.
Share with us in the comments what is your view on communication as the key to better mental health. Plus, if you have any other viewpoint to share with us drop it in the comments section, we would love to hear from you.
Remember: It is okay to not feel okay, and communicate your mental health needs.
Sending you good vibes and strength