Your First Step Forward Is Talking

As we mentioned in our Social Activity article, as human beings we were born to be socially active and socialising can provide several benefits to your physical and mental health. Positive benefits are powerful and supportive, however, the first step forward to take when we are looking to face our struggles, is to actually talk to someone about whatever is going on.

That being said, some people never make it past the first hurdle: actually taking that first step and talking about the fact that they are experiencing mental distress. If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of a possible mental health problem, such as consistently feeling low, no self-confidence or self-worth and struggling to get through each day, you may feel embarrassed, awkward or even ashamed of ‘admitting’ to it, due to stigma and/or being labelled.

So What Should I DO?

There is no need to tell anyone about what you are experiencing if you don’t feel comfortable with it. You mustn’t feel pressured by anyone into talking, especially at work and there is no one specifically that you ‘must’ tell. BUT, all the coping strategies, tools and techniques in the world, will not be anywhere near as effective or work at all, until you manage to take that first step and ask to speak with someone.

Find a way to accept this fact and that it will probably be the hardest thing you ever do, though for many, there will be an element of relief almost immediately and some others it will be the start of a long journey for you. The key thing to remember though, is that however you feel once you’ve spoken to someone, you have taken that essential first step and should be SO proud of yourself.

Are you ok Mental Health First Aid Oxford

Though it can feel daunting and difficult at first to approach and talk to someone, please remember as the old BT advert used to say “It’s good to talk”. It is also both important and safe for you to talk. Below are some pointers to help you take that first step in reaching out to talk:

Identify who you trust: This might be a work colleague, a friend or family member. Get in touch with them and ask if they are free to talk as you need some support and feel able to trust them with this.

Professional support: It may feel easier to talk to someone who doesn’t know you at work or home, so do consider speaking with your GP, a counsellor or local support group in your area. This is also worthwhile doing alongside a person you trust to maximise the support available to you.

Below are some real life videos taken from our 2018 mental health campaign #realmentalk. The short videos contain men and women sharing their own personal stories and talking was a key part of their journey to recovery. It is vital for us all to voice the importance of individuals talking about mental health rather than being embarrassed or ignoring it, even if personally they have no experience of mental ill health or suicide. By lending their voice to the subject, maybe they will be the one who somebody out there connects with, someone who is struggling and inspires them to take that first step forward and seeks some support.

#real men talk

We released six videos per week, of every day ‘Real’ men and women from around the UK, including: Town Mayors, Councillors, Businessmen and Veterans. They talk of their own personal thoughts, opinions, challenges and experiences of mental health, mental illness including: Stress, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and Suicide.

The videos began on Monday 10 September (World Suicide Awareness Day) running through to Wednesday 10 October (World Mental Health Day). Over this period of time we;

  • Released 24 videos over four weeks

  • Reached over 100,000 people

  • Saved two people who were suicidal (we’ve been told of)

  • Changed the lives of several others (learned via messages received)

  • Touched the hearts of thousands.

Below are a small selection of video’s from the First Step Forward YouTube channel, which is where you can watch the whole collection, that we feel are most relevant to those who might be reading this page looking for Self-Care and Self-Help, hints, tips, suggestions and inspiration.

A little further down the page we have listed some professional organisations that you could research and look to reach out for some support and guidance, who provide freephone listening services, totally confidential and highly trained to best assist you and simply listen to what you have going on right now.

Take a deep breath, dial that number and make your first step toward getting support, you are NOT alone, though it might seem it at times. Until you make a step forward, nothing’s going to change and the loneliness will stay with you, BUT, take that step and ask for help……..it’s only ever going to improve in the long run.

#RealMenTalk - Day One

#RealMenTalk - Day Four

#RealMenTalk - Impact On Partners

#RealMenTalk - Reflection