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How do I know I need to talk to someone?

We can all go through tough times in our lives. We may feel anxious, sad, lonely, stressed, angry and other negative emotions from time to time. These feelings may seem like they’ve just come out of nowhere, or you may have had a stressful or traumatic experience and this is impacting on how you’re feeling. These feelings might also be a sign of a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression.

Whatever the cause, if your negative emotions are becoming worse and having an impact on your wellbeing and ability to function, it might be that you need to talk to someone about what you’re going through. This is the first step towards getting the support you need, and returning to the healthy and happy life you deserve.

Who can I talk to about my problems?

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, experiencing some difficult feelings, or just feel generally overwhelmed with everything, it’s a good idea to identify people in your life who will be able to listen and support you.

Friends and family

Have a think about people in your personal life that you’re close to and that you trust. You may have close friends and family that you feel able to talk to.

Once you’ve established who the person you trust the most is, it can be beneficial to be open and honest about what you’re experiencing. You don’t have the tell them everything straightaway; you could start small, as opening up may make you feel a little vulnerable at first. When you’re sure you feel comfortable talking to this person, you can be as open as you wish.

Remember, this person cares about you and won’t want you to suffer in silence. Instead, they’ll be able to listen to what you’re going through and provide emotional support.

Someone at work

If your emotional problems are impacting on your ability to function in your daily life, this might mean you’re also struggling at work. You may be lacking in motivation, finding it difficult to concentrate, or you may be struggling to go to work at all. If this is the case, it can be really useful to speak to someone at work, letting them know how you’re feeling and how this is affecting you professionally.

A first port of call might be your line manager or your HR department. They’ll be able to find out more about how you’re feeling and how it’s impacting your work, and put things in place to support you. Your organisation may have a dedicated employee assistance programme (EAP) or other professional support package in place to help employees who are struggling with their mental health. These can be invaluable and can be a really great starting point towards getting back on track. By speaking to your line manager or HR department, you’ll be able to make the best use of the services that are available to you.

If, for whatever reason, you don’t feel able to approach your line manager or someone in HR, you may want to speak to a trusted colleague instead. You can let them know how you’re feeling and how this is affecting your work. They’ll be able to provide emotional support in a workplace context, be your spokesperson if needed, or provide moral support if and when you do wish to escalate your problems.

Dedicated charities

You could also speak to one of the many charities that are dedicated to helping people with emotional problems or life struggles.

These are usually telephone helplines that are operated by trained and highly compassionate individuals. They’ll be able to listen to you without judgement, and provide words of comfort and advice.

An example of one such charity is the Samaritans. They’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are always on hand to support you. You can contact Samaritans for free on 116 123.

A trained professional

If your feelings are having a detrimental impact on your wellbeing, it’s really important that you speak to a professional about what you’re going through.

An initial step may be for you to speak to your GP. They’ll be able to evaluate your symptoms and recommend an appropriate course of action in terms of treatment and next steps. They may also be able to refer you to a mental health provider such as Priory, to receive specialist help.

Alternatively, you can contact Priory directly. Our friendly team are always here to listen to your concerns and recommend an appropriate treatment programme for you. We offer specialist inpatient, day care and outpatient treatment, depending on your needs, as well as evidence-based therapy formats and types. We also offer market-leading online therapy, via Priory Connect, meaning you can access expert support at a time and a place that works for you.

Why is it important to open up?

When you’re struggling with your mental health or working through difficult emotions, it can be easy to bottle things up. However, talking to someone is important for a number of reasons. It can enable you to:

  • Receive emotional, practical and professional support
  • Reduce any loneliness you might be feeling. Opening up to someone and receiving empathy and compassion can reinforce the fact that you’re not alone and you don’t have to suffer in silence
  • Develop new perspectives on the way you’re feeling or help you to think about things in new and healthier ways
  • Strengthen your relationships with those around you, making you feel secure and supported
  • Reduce the chances of your mental health becoming worse. The issues that you’re facing may worsen over time, which is why ‘nipping them in the bud’ and opening up is crucial

In turn, all of these can relieve stress, help you feel less anxious and minimise other difficult symptoms you may be going through. Remember – it’s often said that a problem shared is a problem halved.

You don’t have to struggle on your own - support is available and we can help you start your journey towards a positive future.

This blog was clinically reviewed by Olivia Dornan (BA, BACP), Integrative Therapist at Priory Wellbeing Centre Birmingham.

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Priory offers video access to online therapy and assessments. You will benefit from the same high regulatory standards received across all Priory services, and will be treated by highly trained therapists who are experts in their field.

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