Lots of people are still finding discussions around mental health difficult, according to new research.

A recent survey by Benenden Health found that more than a third of Brits don’t feel as if they can raise concerns related to mental health with loved ones.

Similarly, mental health conversations are being stopped because individuals worry about ‘being too intrusive or upsetting.’

Because of this, 29% of respondents feel that they don’t know how to approach the subject – despite being concerned about someone’s mental health in the past.

As part of Benenden Health’s wider mission, the research hopes to get everybody talking about their health more.

It also wants to shed light on why British people find it challenging speaking about other’s wellbeing.

The survey found 33% of people fear saying the wrong thing when talking about mental health, while 31% are afraid of being too intrusive.

Other common concerns included upsetting the other person, while 24% of Brits say it’s simply difficult to start a conversation about mental health.

Interestingly, the research reveals that those surveyed aged between 45 to 54 are the most confident when it comes to raising concerns about the mental wellbeing of the people around them.

To help people increase their confidence in holding conversations when checking in with others, 31% say that want to know how to make someone comfortable.

A better understanding of how to steer the conversation would also help, as 30% say they want to know the appropriate questions to ask when checking in.

‘The social stigma associated with accessing mental health help has played a detrimental role for those struggling with their mental health – this stigma may hinder those seeking help,’ says Llinos Connolly, a clinical services sister at Benenden Health.

‘So, it is no wonder people find it difficult to have an open and frank conversation regarding mental health.’

To help get the nation to check in on their emotional wellbeing and access support, Benenden Health has created a Mental Health Check-In hub.

How to check in with others to talk about their mental health:

‘Talking to someone about their emotional wellbeing can be a difficult topic and there is no perfect way to start this sensitive conversation,’ says Llinos Connolly, a clinical services sister at Benenden Health.

Here are some tips from her to think about the next time you chat with someone about their mental health:

  • Start by asking if they’re doing alright and if there’s anything you can do for them.
  • Try to stick to asking open questions, allowing time for the answer.
  • Ideally, move the conversation to a safe place where you have privacy to allow that person to speak truthfully in a quiet and discreet space.
  • Lastly, listen. We might not always know the answer, but asking questions and giving people time to reflect and share is a good place to start.

If you need support, contact Mind UK or the NHS for more information.

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