Ask twice

World Mental Health Day on October 10 is just a few days away so it is welcome that Time to Change has launched its latest campaign this week – Ask Twice.

The witty video plays on the fact that all too often we answer ‘Fine, thanks’ when anyone asks how we are, even when we are not OK.

Sometimes finding a way to ask again can open up the conversation. The campaign has some tips to help do just that.

First, take your friend’s feelings seriously, because however small the issue might seem at first, opening up is always a big issue for the person doing it.

Second, simply listening can make a big difference. You don’t have to have all the answers. Just reflecting that you are listening by saying something simple like ‘that sounds really difficult’ shows you are paying attention.

Third, it can be OK to ask questions. We worry about prying when it comes to others’ mental health, but it can be better to ask questions and keep the conversation going.

Fourth, be realistic. While it’s human to want to fix things, tackling a mental health problem takes time. Being a mate means listening not having to provide all the answers.

You can find out more by visiting the Time to Change website by clicking here.