New statistics show that mental health problems are on the rise, but that more than half of Britons feel comfortable reaching out for help. So what can you do to prepare for conversations about mental health, and where can you turn if you don’t have someone in your life you can talk to?
When it comes to mental health, the big statistic is one in four – that’s the number of people who will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. But, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people reporting mental health problems has risen astronomically, as we come up against challenges like nothing else.
According to the latest research from Piplsay, which surveyed more than 12,000 people aged 18 and over, 63% of Britons are facing mental health issues amid the pandemic, with respondents highlighting the key areas causing this distress as:
- Fear about the virus
- Financial concerns
- Work stress
But, as mental health problems continue to rise, seemingly so does our willingness to share our experiences with others, as Piplsay also revealed that 59% of people had reached out to others for help – 32% to their family, 17% to friends, and 10% to a therapist.
As we collectively continue to face incredibly intimidating and distressing times, it’s warming to see that many people do feel as though they are able to reach out to talk about the things that they’re going through. But, of course, it isn’t always easy.
Talking to family, friends, and even co-workers about mental health can be very intimidating. You may be unsure about how they will react, or find the conversation itself distressing. But if you feel as though you can speak to the people in your life, Happiful has several guides to help you prepare for the conversations:
- How to talk to family about mental health
- How to talk about mental health at work
- How to talk about suicide
- How to talk about mental health with someone who doesn’t understand
What can I do if I don’t have someone I can talk to about my mental health?
Not all of us feel comfortable speaking to the people in our lives about mental health, and this could be for a myriad of reasons. But there are still several ways that you can reach out and connect with others, including the following:
- Side by Side – an online community hosted by mental health charity Mind, where others are available to talk to 24/7.
- Pen friend scheme – organised by Depression UK, this pen friend scheme connects you with others going through similar experiences so that you can write letters of support and share what you’re going through.
- Support Forum – charity SANE’s support forum offers a space for anyone to share experiences, and offer support and ideas.
- Samaritans – Samaritans volunteers are available to listen to you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Find a counsellor near you – search for counsellors in your area, and those offering remote sessions, by visiting Counselling Directory.
The old phrase, a problem shared is a problem halved, always rings true. Whether you’re reaching out to those close to you, or connecting with others online, just remember that you don’t need to go through difficult times alone, a listening ear is never far away.