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In my opinion, talking and being open about your Mental Health difficulties is one of the best ways to get help, alright I know there’s going to be people saying “Yeah, but it’s hard to be open enough to talk” but I feel that there’s going to be a point in your life where being silent and not talking about it is going to really mess you up.

If you’re not a good talker or listener then I feel that the tips I’m going to cover in this article may be of help.

After completing a Connect 5 Training course back in July 2019, I learned about how Open Questions can be beneficial in helping people to get the support that they need, they are questions that don’t get just a Yes or No answer and actually encourage them to talk to you knowing that a conversation is a safe place you’re holding open for them – reassure them that nothing they say is right or wrong. 

You must really think about your answer to open questions so give them some time, some people allow 10 seconds of silence before saying something else but do whatever is natural to you.

Some of the most common Open Questions are questions that begin with:

How…?, What…?, When…?, Where…?

An example of open questions used within a conversation could be as follows:

“How are you doing?”

“What’s wrong?”

If you’re struggling to know what to say just try asking “How are you feeling today”?

If they’re still not in a good place after your conversation, there’s a couple of questions you can ask before getting them the help they need, some of those questions may include:

  • Have you talked to anyone else about this?’
  • ‘Would you like to get some help?’
  • ‘Would you like me to come with you?’

Or, for someone who is reluctant to get help:

  • ‘Do you have someone you trust you can go to?’
  • ‘If it helps, you can talk to me any time.’

(Questions above are taken from Samaritans.org)

If you’d like to know more about talking, then take a look at Samaritans and their SHUSH listening tips.

Show you care – Focus on the other person

Have patience – It may take time for the other person to open up

Use open questions – more than a yes or no, use the words “tell me more”

Say it back – check you’ve understood, clarify the meaning, and summarise what’s been said

Have courage – don’t be put off by a negative response and don’t feel the need to fill a silence

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