Tips for Talking to a Loved One About Mental Health

Starting a family conversation about mental health is just as important as a conversation about physical health.

Mental health is important to prioritize for yourself, but it's critical to help and support friends and family as well.

Nearly one in five U.S. adults experiences mental illness in a year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. With these struggles being so common, having open conversations about mental health can help remove the stigma for those suffering. Dan Pelino, a mental health advocate and author of "Trusted Healers," gave some tips for talking to a loved one.


Don't Shame or Blame

The most important thing to remember is to eliminate any trace of shame or blame in your tone when talked to your friend. And be sure to approach the topic carefully. If you are struggling with mental health issues yourself, don't blame yourself and be open to seeking outside help. Pelino says that you have to make a personal commitment to yourself in order to see results, and the desire to treat the issue has to come from within.

Through these conversations you can help someone decide to get help, says Pelino.

Get a Mental Health Check-Up

After having this conversation, visit a doctor for additional support to move forward. You have to treat mental illness just like you would treat any other health issue — you should be proactive about seeking treatment at the first sign something's wrong, Pelino says. Treatment can include therapy or medication prescribed by a doctor who has evaluated

Make a Plan — & Stay Strong

Follow the advice of your doctor and follow up often to stay on track. Schedule routine visits with a therapist and stick with them.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has counselors available to talk 24/7 by phone (1-800-273-8255) or online chat.

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