The Benefits of Having Open Conversations About Mental Health

I would never ask someone experiencing mental health issues — in any capacity — to talk about something so personal with just anyone. But, for me, the conversations I had with friends and family about my mental health journey made a world of difference.

Some of those people have their own mental health issues, and others simply know and love me and want to help however they can. Little did they know that those very conversations created an open and safe environment for me to navigate my inner struggles.

It’s terrifying to not fully understand what is going on in your mind, but it can be even more terrifying explaining it all to someone else. Overcoming this obstacle can reap an endless list of benefits, but these are the most important ones I experienced when I finally got comfortable letting my loved ones know what I was experiencing.

1. Validation

Talking to people I trust about my mental health made it all seem more real. I was able to put words to the mess in my head, and my people were able to help me piece it all together, validating what I was feeling. Yes, there was something troubling going on with my mental health. No, I wasn’t being overdramatic. It’s okay that I felt that way. They'd say that of course, they would get whatever help I needed.

2. New coping mechanisms

If someone you trust also deals with mental health issues, they might have some tips and tricks for getting through difficult moments. As your life changes, so might the way you cope with those low points. Always be open to learning from others’ experiences, you never know when you’ll be in a similar place.

3. Destigmatize mental health issues

I know it sounds cliché, but every open conversation we have about mental health chips away at society’s prejudice against the mental health community. Not only that, but you’ll feel more in control of the way mental health is talked about — because you’re the one doing the talking. Mental health is as normal and as common of a struggle as medical health, but our open conversations are necessary to make it seem so.

4. You could help someone else cope with their own mental health issues

The more open you become about your own mental health journey, you may end up having a very important conversation with someone in the mental health community. It will take time, but getting to the point of accepting your mental health struggles is what every person with mental health issues aspires to achieve, and letting someone in the midst of their battle see that self-acceptance is possible can make a small but significant difference.

Make your journey your own, but remember that the most effective support systems know your struggle and what kind of help you want and need.