Got a burning question about mental health difficulties? Want non-professional, peer-to-peer advice? Look no further, this feature will appear every month and invites readers to send in questions regarding mental health for tips and advice*. My name is Leanne and I have both specialist training and personal experience in mental health and will aim to provide user-friendly, non-professional advice to anyone who asks for it!
Q. I find myself becoming more irritable and snapping at my family recently, even though I don’t feel angry in general. Could this be a sign of something deeper?
A: This could be a sign of lots of different things. I think if you’re beginning to feel concerned then maybe reaching out to someone who has training in this department will be beneficial for you. Your GP will be able to carry out tests which can give a better indicator of what might be wrong, if anything – this could be a case of raised hormones for example. I also would advise to talk to your family, they can’t read your mind and may be wondering and worrying about why you are behaving this way. It may also provide you with reassurance that they understand why you are irritable with them.
Q. My friend has told me they are experiencing depressive and suicidal thoughts, but they don’t want any help. Who can I speak to confidentially to ensure they aren’t a danger to themselves?
A: In any setting you should have someone you can confide in, whether that be a personal tutor, course leader, lecturer, head of year, line manager, team leader, and student services. All of these people have a duty of confidentiality however when certain things are disclosed that raises concerns for a person’s welfare they have to alert the appropriate people/services. So, I am unsure how confidential your chat would be, but if you have any concerns you can always ask before you part with information to that person.
Q. My parents can’t understand or support my mental health, what should I do?
A: Ok this is a difficult one as there are many factors that can contribute to a situation like this. Unfortunately, some people still struggle to understand mental ill health, a good way to tackle this is to provide them with lots of information so they can learn about what they don’t understand. Your GP is a great hub for information, local mental health services will have leaflets for patient and family. You could always share with them, give them a bit more insight into what goes on in your life and what you are experiencing with your mental health, this may help them understand why.
Q. I’ve just had my first panic attack and I don’t know what I should do/who I should contact?
A: Okay, breathe, take a step back and remember you are safe. When you experience a panic attack it is really important to remember that you are in control. If you can, try and step out of the situation and know that calming down your breathing and grounding yourself can help you lots. I would always advise to speak to someone about what you are/have experienced. This will provide you with support and through this you may find you feel less stressed and anxious about it happening again. If you feel like you want more support then you can contact your GP or see the contacts list at the end of this section, some of the services may be able to provide you with support.
Q. I’ve just discovered that I’m a lesbian, how do I open up to my parents about it?
A: Oh gosh, this is difficult to answer! Coming out can be super scary and sometimes really difficult. It would be nice to think that in this day and age coming out is easier but sometimes this isn’t always the case. I think it’s individual for everyone how they approach this, I came out in a silly way – drunk text. I wouldn’t advise that ha. I guess it all depends on how you think they will take it, it shouldn’t be a big thing, so I would try not to hype it up. Also, don’t frighten them by saying “I have something to tell you”! Just try and remember to be respectful of their opinion/thoughts about it. Good luck, maybe you can write and tell us how it goes. Never stop being who you are.
How to ask:
Please send your questions to: [email protected]
*Please note not all questions will be answered, and all will be posted anonymously. If you are seeking urgent or professional advice, please see our contact list at the end of this sub-section.