Something weighing you down? Open Up over a cuppa

People’s lives are so busy and between work, families, friends and partners, trying to find time to take care of yourself can seem impossible. But the first step to improving our wellbeing takes just three little words – “Got a moment?”

Open Up is the new campaign from VSA and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) designed to encourage people to overcome their fears of speaking about how they feel and start a conversation.

Each year, one in four of us in Scotland will experience a mental health problem – Even if you don’t experience problems yourself, chances are you know someone who does. And one of the best things you can do is open up a conversation.

That’s why VSA and SAMH have teamed up to make sure that people in the north-east are taking the time to help each other, even by just talking with colleagues over a cup of tea or with friends when you meet up.

Even just the act of asking “how are you?” and listening to the person’s response can help increase their confidence and help get their problems off their chest.

John was made redundant in 2016, he said: “I found it a great help to me when I was feeling anxious about the threat of losing my job to speak to a friend, someone who wasn’t in my workplace and who was happy to listen to my fears and worries. It really helped me to ‘Open up’ and get things off my chest.”

It can be hard to express in words how you’re feeling, it might help to write it down first.  Find someone you trust to begin your conversation.  If you have someone in your life who you think needs to Open Up, don’t be afraid to ask them how they’re feeling.  It’s easy to say “I’m fine” but don’t give up if you are worried about someone.  Here are some conversation starters:

  1. You can read up about mental health and wellbeing – it can help you spot signs of low mood.
  2. Let the person know your listening and encourage them to open up further make them feel  supported and not judged
  3. Suggest tracking wellbeing  – you can access a wellbeing tool on the SAMH website which will  help monitor your wellbeing and makes suggestion about further support, for example, preparing to visit the GP
  4. Get professional help – have contact information for doctors, SAMH, VSA and other organisations that the person can speak to
  5. Look after yourself – you can’t help someone else if you aren’t feeling well yourself

If you want to find out more about mental health and wellbeing, self-help tips and the importance of talking as part of SAMH and VSA’s Open Up campaign,  visit the SAMH website.

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