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Small Talks can make a Big Difference.

Mental health, like physical health, is something that we all have, yet speaking openly about mental health is not always easy.

While as a society, there may be more awareness around mental health struggles, most people still find it  difficult to talk openly about mental health face-to-face.

However, small chats with your friends, colleagues, and family members can go a long way to making sure you have a place to talk honestly about your feelings.

Small Talks is about taking the time to have these conversations and ensuring that we all make ourselves available to listen. With a few simple guides, we can all positively impact the mental health of those around us.

Top tips to start a positive conversation

Here are a few top tips on how to experience positive conversations on mental health, remember to TALK.

Take the time

In your day-to-day chats, check in with those around you and make an effort to ask people how they are doing

• Try and make sure you are somewhere you feel comfortable – this could be at home or going for a walk
• Try asking people how they’re doing every time you get to talk and catch up properly
• If you’re concerned about someone, then be sure to find time to ask them how they’re doing

Ask twice

“I’m fine” can be an instant response when people ask how we’re doing. Asking a second time can lead to a more honest and open response.

• As well as asking “how are you doing?” as a natural conversation opener, try following with, “how have you been feeling?”
• Opening up can be daunting, so be patient and allow them to do so

Learn to listen

Allow people the time needed to talk about their feeling. It may not come all at once, but make sure you’re letting them say what they need to.

• We all like to respond to what people tell us, but it is crucial to make sure we’re not cutting people off when they’re trying to open up
• Continue asking questions that invite people to share more
• Ask if there is anything you can do to help

Keep it up

Don’t stop with one chat. Remember to continue checking in to see how those closest to you are doing.

• If someone said that they were not feeling great, be sure to check in again with them soon
• If people said that they were doing well, there’s no need to leave it there. Mental health can change, so make check-ins a regular part of your chats

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event, and this year takes place between Monday 13th and Sunday 19th May.

This is your opportunity to organise events and activities to get people talking and thinking about supporting others with their mental health.

This year’s theme is “Movement: Moving more for our mental health” so we are encouraging everyone where possible to organise an event which involves some form of movement.

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day takes place on Tuesday 10 October, your opportunity to kick start those Small Talks, helping to break the stigma around mental health.

Having positive conversations about mental health can make a big difference to people’s lives and here at YMCA Ireland, we will be using the day to host activities and events to raise awareness of the importance of talking.

Tea Talks

As a nation, there are two things that we love to do: drink tea and have a chat. We have combined these two loves to make a worthwhile activity that can help you to break the stigma around mental health.

We want to encourage people to take the time to have small talks with each other, so this World Mental Health Day, why not take a break and have a chat with a friend, colleague or someone in your life?

If you are from a YMCA, you can contact us to access our free online resources.

Small Walks

We all know that going for a walk is great for your physical health, but it is great for your mental health too.

That is why we have combined walking and talking to help promote positive conversations whilst on the move.

You can do this with a friend, or if you are from a YMCA, why not think about organising with a youth group or hosting it with colleagues? Use the TALK acronym to support you and get outside.

We have created a handy Smalls Talks poster, which can be used to encourage people to think about taking part.

Are you okay?

If someone’s really struggling, try pointing them in the direction where they can get help.

You can find a list of helpful places to visit below.