Today is World Mental Health Day where many charities and organisations are trying to raise awareness of different mental health conditions and quash the stigmas that surround many of them.
It seems to me the recurring theme of advice surrounding mental health of a family or friend is 'have a conversation, ask them how they're doing, sit down with them with a cuppa' after all as the old BT ad used to say 'it's good to talk', I think they may have been on to something there......
Sometimes though it's not easy to talk, especially to those we are closest to; that's my experience anyway. We worry about what they might think of us, will we disappoint them, what if they can't take what I want to say? Maybe we blame those close to us for the way we are feeling, so in no way will we want to open up to them.
Looking back to when I was a teenager I think I felt that way, I learned to keep my feelings in and some things that I would've done good to talk about got bottled up and hidden away for years, the trouble with that is eventually they find a way out, no matter how well you think you've tidied them away and moved on with your life.
I suppose I may have started to think about this a bit when our children were younger, around the time you start imparting your wisdom to them and letting them know everything you think they need to know, whether they're interested or not. I said to each one of our four children the usual, "you know you can always tell me anything," and I always followed it with "but if you can't talk to me, it's okay for you to talk to someone else who you feel you can talk to." I know I was just stressing to them the importance of not bottling things up but recognising that I may not be the one they want to open up to, and that's okay; I won't be jealous, I won't feel offended, I will just be glad that they are talking to someone about what's on their mind.
I believe this could possibly the best advice I gave my children, they are now older and I know they have taken this on board and although I think our relationship and communication together is excellent, I also know that sometimes if they feel they need to they will find someone who isn't me, who isn't their Mum, to have a heat to heart with, and that's okay!
So on this World Mental Health Day, I would say yes, absolutely try to have a conversation with whoever you are concerned about, but also give your blessing for them to have that conversation with someone else if they want to.