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Hi, I’m Josie, the Occupational Health Manager here at Harrods. Today is time to talk day; encouraging people to be more open about mental health; to talk, listen and help change lives. Talking about mental health is not always easy and can feel awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. Being there for someone can make a huge difference.
 
It’s important that conversations happen at times and in places that feel natural. There is no right way to talk about mental health, but you can approach it in a helpful way. Here are a few top tips to help make your conversation feel less awkward.
 
1. Ask questions and listen. Make sure you ask open questions that are not leading or judgmental, such as, ‘How does that affect you?’ or ‘What does it feel like?’
 
2. Think about the time and place. Sometimes it’s easier to talk about our feelings when we are doing something else, talking side by side rather than face to face. You could start a conversation when you’re walking, stacking the shelves, on your way to lunch, stuck in traffic. But don’t let the search for the perfect setting put you off.
 
3. Don’t try and fix it. It can be hard to see someone you care about having a difficult time, but try to resist the urge to offer quick fixes for what they’re going through. Just talking can be powerful, so unless they’ve asked for advice directly, it may be best just to listen.
 
4. Treat them the same. It’s important to remember that when someone has a mental health problem, they’re still the same person. That means when a friend, colleague or loved one opens up about mental health, they don’t want to be treated any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you’d normally do.
 
5. Be patient. Some people might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through, and that’s ok. The fact that you’ve tried to talk to them about it could make it easier for them to open up another time.

 

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