Here at Talk in the Bay, we often get contacted by people who are concerned about the mental health of someone in their life. It could be their son or daughter, partner, family member or friend. Even though you sense that something is wrong, it can be difficult to get your friend or family member to talk to you. So, how can you get them to open up and talk about what’s bothering them? After all, people will only have counselling if they choose to. You can’t make someone go to therapy. They have to feel that it is a good idea and might benefit them. So where do you start?
Getting people close to you to talk can often be difficult, but if you can try to start a dialogue with them, then that could be the start of a healing journey. On their website, The Samaritans (Samaritans.org) have some excellent advice, not only for people who are experiencing difficulties, but also for those who are close to them and are really worried. They call it “having a difficult conversation” and give advice on how to try to talk to the person you are worried about, and they recommend just to try talking and especially learning to listen. Talking therapies recognise that it is so important for people to feel listened to.