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 mental health is getting worse and I don’t have anyone to talk to and I’m scared I will upset my parents by telling them it’s coming back, what should I do?
A: I would always advise you to talk to someone, whether this be a school counsellor, teacher, or tutor, or someone such as a person from the Samaritans helpline. Bottling up emotions can often exacerbate things which isn’t helpful when you are feeling this way. I understand that talking to parents about mental health can often be scary and a daunting prospect, but you say that it is coming back. Maybe think about your previous experiences with sharing your mental health problems with them; how did this go? If you feel that you would need support talking to them there are services available which can help you with this, and if you’re able to talk to someone at school/college/university they also may be able to offer you help with this. However, if you are in a crisis and become un-safe, I would 100% encourage you to talk to whoever is available and to keep yourself surrounded so you are able to keep yourself safe. Please look at the end of this sub-section, there is a list of mental health contacts that you may find useful.
Q: False happiness – How can you fix having false happiness and acting as if things are great when they are not?
A: Pretending that you are okay, when you aren’t is actually extremely exhausting and can in itself impact on someone’s mental health. If things aren’t great for you at the moment, I would always encourage you to speak to someone about your thoughts and feelings. There are many services that can offer you support with this, alongside your friends and family. Writing a diary can often help people in expressing their feelings if talking to someone feels too daunting. It may also help you to identify what is causing you to feel this way, it may be your mental health, or it may be a factor in your life that you might be able to change/manage. One thing I can say is that the most likely outcome to feeling this way, is feeling the total opposite! It will get better.
Q: How do I help a friend who is feeling depressed after a relationship breakup?
A: I feel that this area is slightly out of my depth, but as with anyone feeling depressed for whichever reason, reassurance and support are key. Supporting someone who is feeling depressed is very important, being there for them in a non-judgemental way and reassuring them that things will get better. Recognising that you cannot ‘fix’ them and magically cure them to feeling better is also important, depression can take time to right itself, and it is super important to not dip out of the person’s life when you cannot see any improvements or changes in their presentation. Be there for them, support them, and make sure they know they aren’t alone and that things will get better.
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.