People Urged To 'Ask Twice' If Their Mates Are OK
It's the main way we greet each other isn't it: "You alright?"
It's the equivalent of saying 'hi' for most of us, so it's not surprising that the question loses meaning, or simply gets passed off as the beginning of a conversation. It usually goes something like this:
Mate one: "Hey, you OK?"
Mate two: "Yeah, good thanks."
Then you carry on with the real reason you messaged, 'would you be able to transfer that tenner I lent you?', or 'are you coming out this weekend?' - with the beginning brushed off as a polite interaction.
But on World Mental Health Day, people are being urged to check that their mates are actually OK by asking them twice.
Mental health organisation, Time to Change, says that if you suspect a friend isn't doing too well, you should follow up their polite 'fine thanks' with a second question, something as simple as: "Are you sure?"
As Brits, we are notoriously bad at talking about anything personal. Sure, we can chat on for hours about the weather (can't make its bloody mind up, can it?), or how bad the trains are, or who's where in the Premier League, but mental health convos don't generally come up in the pub.
The organisation has come up with a few ways you can engage with your pals to make sure they actually are doing OK, especially if you've noticed they're not quite themselves lately.
Although it might feel embarrassing or awkward to speak about how your friends are feeling, Time to Change advises you not to make a joke of it. What they're experiencing is extremely real to them and probably not funny in the slightest.
The charity also say you don't have to have all the answers. As humans, we want to fix things, and most people would try to offer a solution, but sometimes all someone who is having a tough time wants to know is that a friend is willing to listen. A problem shared is a problem halved, and all that.
Although it's very personal, if someone has started opening up to you, they might not want to burden you, but asking questions like 'what does it feel like?', 'what kind of thoughts are you having?' or simply just 'how can I help?' can all go some way to getting a bit of the burden off their chest.
Of course, anyone who is wondering how to deal with a friend who is mentally ill, or are going through it themselves, should seek advice from your GP, or a charity, such as Mind, or if you're in a crisis, the team at Rethink.
Find out more about Ask Twice here.
Featured Image Credit: PA