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. My boyfriend and I keep fighting, I’m worried this is because of his depression but he wont talk about it. What can I do?
A. This situation can be difficult, especially when the person involved finds it difficult to discuss their mental health. I think the main thing is to always be there to support them, and make sure that they know this is available if they decided to use it. Another thought is that perhaps it is worth talking to others involved to reduce the stress and anxiety it may be causing you. Are his family and friends aware? If so, this could be a possible route of approaching him about the subject – it’s important to remember that sometimes talking to the person you’re in a relationship with can be more difficult than talking to someone who isn’t as close to you.
Q. I’ve not been getting on with my family and I think it’s because of my mental health but I find it too hard to talk to them. Who and where can I go to talk about this all!?
A. There are many different places that support mental health, one being a personal tutor at the place you’re studying. However, I recognise that this isn’t always the most suitable option. There are ways you can speak anonymously to people who can offer support, such as Childline. There are also student counsellors that you may be able to approach. However, if you prefer to talk to someone away from your place of study there are services such as Suffolk Wellbeing who you can self-refer to, or your GP will be able to sit down with you and signpost you to local services. We do have a contact list at the end of the mental health subsection where you may find some contact details that can offer you the support you are after.
Q. I am a guy and have started having feelings for another guy. I’ve started to feel really down about this and am worried it is affecting my mental state. Advice?
A. It is really positive that you recognise what may be making you feel down as this gives you a platform to work on when tackling your low mood. There are loads of different services that can help you to talk through your feelings and help you understand what you are experiencing. I think its super important to highlight that you do not have to put a label on yourself! Be yourself, people are so much more accepting these days and sexuality is much more fluid! Please have a look at the contacts list at the end of the section for places to contact. Another thought is whether you have any friends or family members that you would feel comfortable approaching about this.
Q. My dog has just died and he was like my best friend. It’s making me not want to leave the house and my friends are starting to leave me out of their plans. I feel stuck, how can I get out of it?
A. It’s a natural reaction to isolate ourselves when we are feeling down, it’s common to feel demotivated and tired. But isolating yourself from others is not always the best thing to do when you are suffering from low mood, I would definitely advise to approach your friends about what is going on and how it is affecting you. You may find that your friends can accommodate how you are feeling when arranging to meet up and plan time for when and/or where you feel safe. Grief can affect us in all manner of ways, if you are still finding it difficult to cope with in a week or two maybe it would be worth thinking of approaching someone trained to support you? Hang in there though, just remember that bottling up emotions is maladaptive, talking to others helps share that load you are carrying around on your shoulders.
How to ask:
Please send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
*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.