7 Tips For Talking To Your Family About Your Mental Health

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, consider speaking to a family member. Although your family may not be receptive at first, there are tips you can learn for when you talk to your family. For instance, consider planning ahead, suggesting ways in which your family can help, and being honest with your symptoms.

If you have mental health issues, you may find it difficult to speak to your family. However, speaking with your loved ones about what you’re going through can be an important step toward healing.

When you first talk to your family members about your mental illness, you should know the 7 tips for discussing your mental health with family.

1. Plan Ahead Before You Speak With Your Family

The first conversation in which you discuss your struggles with mental health can be challenging. This is why it is important to plan ahead before speaking with your family.

For instance, consider practicing what you want to say beforehand. Having a list of bullet points allows you to be certain that you express the primary concerns your family should know.

Additionally, you may want to consider writing a letter and reading it to your family. This allows you to clearly explain your situation. 

Finally, if you’re an adolescent or young adult, consider speaking with your school counselor or a trusted adult for support and help when developing a plan.

2. Choose The Right Time & Place

In order to help everyone involved in your discussion feel at ease, it is important to choose the right time and place for this conversation to occur. Speak with your family in a location where you feel most comfortable.

Make certain you have enough time to explain your experience struggling with mental health issues. To be certain of a desired time, simply ask your family when an available time is preferable for them.

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3. Be Honest About Your Mental Health Issues

Since this is your first time speaking with your family about your mental health, it is important for you to be honest. It is not necessary for you to divulge every aspect of your life, so be sure to stay on topic and place the focus on your health issues.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), communicate with your family in a straightforward manner and take notice if it seems as if your family is reacting negatively.

4. Offer Examples Of Others Who Have Mental Health Problems

Due to the stigma associated with mental health, some families may believe your struggles aren’t serious. If this occurs, consider mentioning some of their favorite singers and actors.

For instance, celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato suffer from bipolar disorder. By recognizing that celebrities talk about mental health publicly, your family may better understand your experience and why it is necessary for you to be vocal about your struggles.

5. Lower Your Expectations

Your family may listen quietly, but do not expect them to carry on an entire conversation about the topic. For your family, they are only just now learning of your mental health concerns.

They may want to take a beat to learn more about the information you’ve given them before they feel comfortable to speak on the subject. However, let your family know the seriousness of mental health conditions and that you are considering finding professional help.

Practice Self-Care

If your family rejects the notion of your mental health problems, practice self-care and take actions that are necessary for your well-being. 

Whether your family supports you or not, the focus is on your own mental health. Seek out treatment on your own despite any lack of support you receive from family members.

6. Inform Your Family Of Any Treatment You Receive

If you’re currently receiving treatment from a mental health professional or if you’re searching for treatment options, consider informing your family. This may allow your family to take your condition more seriously.

When receiving treatment, you will likely need to provide a list of emergency contacts. Consider confiding in a family member or loved one who understands your situation and can offer support during this time.

7. Suggest Ways In Which Your Family Can Help

If your family is understanding and willing to offer you extra support, simply let them know the ways in which they can be there for you throughout the treatment process. A helpful way in which your family can assist you is by offering emotional support.

This can come in the form of a daily check-in so that you are aware your family is thinking of you. If your family member feels comfortable, they can also take part in support groups in the area or therapy sessions you take.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) states that one of the actions family members can take is to remain connected to you even while you are receiving treatment.

If you or a loved one need mental health support or behavioral health care to pave a path towards wellness, please contact us today to learn how we can help.

  1. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention https://afsp.org/teens-and-suicide-what-parents-should-know/
  2. National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration https://www.samhsa.gov/mental-health/how-to-talk/friends-and-family-members
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration https://www.samhsa.gov/mental-health/how-to-talk

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: November 29, 2023

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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