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Mental Health Monday: How to talk about mental health with people you love

Mental health can sometimes be tough to talk about. But, seeking help could be more crucial now than ever. Here are a few tips on starting the conversation.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala — WZDX is proud to launch ‘Mental Health Mondays’, where we’ll talk about all things mental health and hear from professionals about some of the things you, and your loved ones, could be struggling with every day.

Mental health can sometimes be tough to talk about. A psychotherapist tells us why seeking help for mental health could be more crucial now than ever and gives tips on how to start the conversation.

WATCH: Coping with the “new normal”: How COVID-19 changes could impact mental health

Huntsville psychotherapist and counselor, Monretta Vega, says, “It can be tough because you’re questioning someone’s actions, their behavior, and their characteristics and a lot of times, because this is a part of our daily actions, we get offended-- because you’re questioning something that’s a part of me.”

Back in July, a KFF Tracking Poll found 53% of adults in the United States said their mental health had been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. That number was 20 percent higher than it was in March of 2020.

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From anxiety, to feelings of isolation, more people in the U.S. are struggling to cope with the pandemic. 

So, if you notice some changes in someone you love, how should you approach them? 

Vega advises, “First and foremost, we need to make sure we educate ourselves about what we want to discuss…" She adds, “Someone may be displaying symptoms of depression, educate yourself on what depression is, what that looks like so we’re able to not only provide information, but also give out concerns.” 

Sometimes, just starting the conversation can be the hardest part. Psychotherapist and counselor, Monretta Vega, has some tips. She says, “Start the conversation with ‘I’ statements. ‘I’ statements are specifically directed from you. It does not have to do with the person we’re talking to. For example, we might say ‘I’m feeling concerned, because I’ve noticed you’ve been sleeping a lot', or 'I’ve noticed you’ve been irritable.” 

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Monretta Vega says, this reduces the feeling of ‘pointing the finger’ for the person you're speaking with. 

But, what if you’re noticing changes in your own behavior? 

Vega advises to look out for any changes in “... actions, sleeping patterns, appetite…” But, she adds, “Try not to diagnose yourself. Then, also be open to the different avenues of treatment and assistance.”

Monretta Vega says it’s important to talk to people about how you feel, that way you don’t have to cope with these feelings alone. She explains, “When we are trying to do the process of therapy or seeking help for mental health alone, we can find reasons-- and I can call the excuses-- to stop the process.” 

Telemedicine has boomed during the pandemic, some of the most popular services are mental health resources. Vega tells our reporter, “If you’re thinking about therapy, let’s go ahead and check it out. There’s a reason why it has crossed your mind. And, yes, there’s an increase, but there is space for you.”

Local and national help is for people struggling with mental health issues or who may be contemplating suicide. If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, help is available by phone, text, or chat. 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255 1-800-273-TALK
Free, confidential crisis counseling 24/7/365. You don’t have to be suicidal to call.
Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio 888-628-9454
Veterans Crisis Line 800-273-8255 or text 838255
Options for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing 800-799-4889
Disaster Distress Helpline 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 

Crisis Services North Alabama 256-716-1000 or 1-800-691-8426

National Alliance on Mental Illness 800-950-NAMI or text NAMI to 741741

BoysTown National Hotline 800-448-3000 Spanish and 140 other languages available
BoysTown National Hotline TTD 800-448-1833

TrevorLifeline 866-488-7386 staffed 24/7
TrevorChat Click here for online instant messaging with a TrevorChat counselor, 7 days a week, 3pm-10pm EST
TrevorText Text TREVOR to 202-304-1200 7 days a week, 3pm-10pm EST

ImAlive.org 800-SUICIDE or Click here to Chat Now

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