Mental health: why talking matters


They say a problem shared is a problem halved.

Many of us feel lighter after “unloading” our concerns onto a loved one, with talking being particularly important among those battling mental-health issues.

“Talking is so very important for mental health as it can help us cope with life difficulties,” Dr Meg Arroll, psychologist for Healthspan, told Yahoo UK.

“Sharing our troubles is a healthy, adaptive coping mechanism that can protect against anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation.”

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In any given year, around a quarter of people in the UK experience a mental-health problem, according to Mind.

One in five suffer every year in the US, National Alliance on Mental Illness statistics show.

The NHS recognises the importance of opening up, recommending “talking therapies” for everything from anxiety and depression to stress and phobias.

Chatting to a friend, relative or GP is a good place to start.

Your doctor may refer you to a local psychological therapy service or self-help group.

Counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy, where you try and manage your problems by changing how you think, have been shown to help.

Some find it easier to open up to a stranger than a loved one.

Therapists give you space to talk, cry, shout or just sit with your own thoughts, in a non-judgemental environment, according to the NHS.

Patients in England can self-refer to psychological therapies here.

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The “stiff upper lip” mentality may leave some thinking opening up is a sign of “weakness”.

The Mental Health Foundation argues, however, it is “part of taking charge of your wellbeing”.

Just being listened to can make people feel supported and less alone.

Your honesty may then inspire the listener to do the same.

For those struggling to voice how they feel, the Mental Health Foundation recommends pondering “what does it feel like inside my head? what does it make me feel like doing?”.