Here at TradeMutt, our whole approach around the mental health space is to take a bit more of a fun and light-hearted approach to talking about it. As we know, guys particularly don’t really like talking about serious stuff too much, but that’s ok. If we can use some awesome shirts to help make starting the conversation a little easier, we seriously believe that we can change the whole culture surrounding this topic. After all, while mental health is a serious topic, we want people to understand that we all have mental health, just like we have physical health. Every minute of every day we are somewhere on the spectrum of mental health, from the lower end including things like depression and anxiety to the other end including things like fun, happiness and love.
So how do we have the conversation? Here are a few things to remember….
You’re not there to fix the problem – so don’t try to. You are not a mental health professional, but you are a person who can show empathy and compassion and take a non-judgemental approach. Just listening and allowing someone to vent is extremely effective. Just remember, don’t let someone else’s problem become your problem too or you won’t be any good to anyone.
- Plan a time and place – don’t just shirt front someone with the serious topic. If it is a work colleague that you are worried about, then it’s probably not a great idea to try to have the chat at work. Its just not a comfortable setting. Go for a walk, a coffee, a beer, whatever. Just consider your environment first to ensure it is nice and chill.
- Keep it casual - don’t be weird about it, just be cool. Just because you are ready talk, it doesn’t mean the other person is. Keep the conversation relaxed and talk about anything you normally would. You need to create a comfortable and safe environment to allow the other person to open up naturally. Talking about some of your own problems is a great way to help this happen.
- Be Frank – Once the conversation opens up and gets a little deeper, it is perfectly acceptable to ask the other person “have you considered suicide”? Although this can be an extremely difficult question to ask, you are likely to prompt a genuine answer, allowing you to gauge just how bad someone’s situation might be.
- Choose open ended questions - Asking things like “How is work going?”, “How are things at home?”, “How are you feeling?” will allow the conversation to roll on and insight conversation about specific parts of someone’s life.
- Get Back-up – If you’re talking to someone about some really tough stuff, always remember there is back up out there. Ask the person if they think it’s a good idea to get someone else involved who knows what to do – a professional – and arrange a time to connect them to someone who can help.
LIFELINE – 13 11 14 – 24 hour counselling and crisis support
MENSLINE AUSTRALIA – 1300 78 99 78 – 24 Hour counselling service for men with relationship or family concerns
BEYOND BLUE – 1300 224 636 – 24 Hour counselling service
SUICIDE CALL BACK SERVICE – 1300 659 467 – 24 Hour counselling service for anyone effected by suicide.
KIDS HELP LINE – 1800 55 1800 – 24 hour counselling service for young people aged up to 25 years old.