Eight ways to help someone talk about their mental health on ‘Brew Monday’


The third Monday of January has long been dubbed the most depressing day of the year, also known as Blue Monday: the festive season is over, the weather is gloomy and bills are incoming.

But in reality, Blue Monday is just a myth. In fact, it’s a term that was conjured up for a marketing campaign. That’s right – in reality, there’s no such thing as Blue Monday.

Although Blue Monday has sparked positive conversation around anxiety and depression, labelling a day can be damaging for those already dealing with mental health issues – we all have our good and bad days, and those aren’t for the calendar to decide.

What’s Brew Monday all about?

Samaritans is working to put a stop to the myth about Monday being ‘blue’ by renaming the third Monday of January, Brew Monday. A reminder to reach out for a cuppa and catch-up with family, friends, colleagues and loved ones.

Signs that someone might not be ok

We’re all different and everyone reacts to challenges in their own way. But there are general signs you can look out for that might suggest someone is not ok.

Remember, some people may show several of these signs, whilst others may show one, two, or none. Some of these emotions will be more difficult to spot.

  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Anger or aggression
  • Crying
  • Lacking energy or being tired
  • Withdrawing or being distant
  • Not replying to messages or phone calls
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Gambling
  • Avoiding social activities

Dr. Katy James, mental health clinical director at Vita Health Group, says, “The small act of talking can make a big difference to someone suffering with mental health difficulties. However, talking about mental health isn’t easy and often the stigma around it prevents people from accessing the support they need. The more we talk about how we feel, the more mental health becomes normalised and the easier it becomes for people to reach out for help.

“You don’t have to be a mental health expert to help someone open up. The main thing is that you’re there to support them.”

Dr. James has shared eight ways to help someone open up about their mental health:

1/ Choose a good time (i.e., when you and the other person are not rushing around doing other things)

2/ Try to speak in a place without distractions

3/ Avoid closed questions that prompt a yes or no response

4/ Use open-ended questions: “How are things with you?” “How do you feel about that” “How is that impacting your life?”

5/ Listen respectfully and avoid jumping in or cutting the person off

6/ However tempting it might be, resist the temptation to find a solution. Your emotional support is what’s important

7/ Let them know you’re there to support them anytime

8/ Talk to them about potentially seeking extra support/ professional help: “Have you considered speaking with your GP?”

We all experience times when we feel like we can’t cope, sometimes this can start to affect our everyday lives and prevent us from doing the things we normally do. This is when it is important that we seek some support to get things back on track.

If you live in England and are aged 18 or over, you can access NHS talking therapies services for anxiety and depression. A GP can refer you, or you can refer yourself directly without a referral. Find an NHS talking therapies service, here: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-nhs-talking-therapies-service


About Vita Health Group

Vita Health Group, part of Spire Healthcare, is a leading private UK healthcare provider dedicated to making people better. The organisation provides integrated physical and mental health services to employers/ insurers, the NHS and private patients. Vita Health Group has over 30 years experience delivering best-in-class physical and mental health services, with unique expertise in holistic, person-centred care.

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Email: emma.allsebrook@tribepr.co.uk

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