Speaking out in your everyday life is one of the best ways to change the way people around you think and act about mental health. But you need to make sure that you feel safe to do so. If you're considering sharing your experience you might like to think about some of these things:
Think about what you're comfortable with telling people. Are there any parts of your story you're that feel painful or vulnerable that you might not want to tell people about at the moment? If you’re unsure about what to share, think about how you would manage if someone reacted badly to personal information you shared. If they were dismissive or negative, would you be OK with that? It’s not likely to happen but it is possible so you should think about that when you are deciding what parts of your personal experience you are prepared to share. Have a practice with someone you trust before you talk to strangers about it.
Think about who you are talking to and what you might like to share. Have a think about areas of your life that you aren't open in and why - who else could you share it with?
Think about why you are sharing. Remember that social contact is about changing the way someone thinks about mental health by sharing some parts of your story. Social contact is different to getting support from someone. While you might also want to speak to get support for your mental health, social contact is about sharing some information that helps the other person understand that you have a mental health problem when they didn't already know this, so that they can see that people with mental health problems are people just like them. This means you might like to share a bit less than you would if you were looking for support.
If you do feel ready and able to open up to people about your personal mental health experiences, you could think about doing this:
- Places you visit socially or groups you're a part of
- Public transport or taxis
- Where you work or study
- Standing in queues
- In shops
- At the gym or classes you go to
- Places you spend time with your family and friends