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We’ve been following RTE’s youth mental health initiative this week and are super impressed with all the amazing materials they have made (just follow #RTEBigPic for more). Loveliest of all is how positive the conversations have been about what is traditionally a dark and sad conversation. The messages are hopefull and honest, which is exactly as it should be.

Today, our ambassador Ash took part in a conversation about mental health, along with some other girls. check it out below….

Ash has been a long time contributor to Shona, and even shared her story at the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland awards last year in another powerful video you can watch here.

We all know someone who struggles with mental health issues, if we don’t ourselves. And sometimes, we don’t know how to help them, and with the best will in the world, we can say things that make things worse. Here are some tips on how to be a good friend…….

Give them space: Don’t force a conversation if they aren’t ready. Let them know you are ready and willing to listen, and let them come to you. Also asking them if they’re okay every five minutes is more stressful than helpful.

Don’t tell the person they’re wrong: There are no wrongs when it comes to our own emotions. Even the same experiences affect people in different ways. Never say “you shouldn’t feel this way”, “its not that bad” or “stop over-reacting”.  You’re not listening. Stop it.

Don’t talk too much: The person can google cures for depression just as easily as you can, do you think they haven’t thought of that? The person does not need to be told to try yoga or meditation. Most helpful of all is a listening and understanding  ear.

Here are some helpful things you can say

  • Can you tell me more about what’s going on for you?
  • If you want to tell me more, I’m here to listen.
  • It sounds like you’re dealing with a lot at the moment.
  • I’m really sorry to hear that you’re feeling like this right now.