Asking for help can be one of the most daunting but one of the best things you can do. It is often difficult to know where to start and who to tell. It can be even more difficult if you consider yourself a private person, but a problem shared is a problem halved. Once you have spoken about your worries, that is when it starts to get better. We all need help and support sometimes, so it is important that we remind ourselves that we aren’t weak for asking for it!
The first step is deciding who to reach out to is to reflect on what you feel comfortable with sharing and who you are as a person. Would you prefer to speak to someone you know or speak to someone anonymously? Would you prefer to speak to someone online or in person? Then, seeking out your options is the next step. To help you with this, there are many online services that can help to guide you in the right directions.
One available service is The Mind Map offering a new ‘one stop shop’ for anyone who has mental health concerns and is seeking support. They are on a mission to normalise mental health by providing a service that allows you to seek out free mental health services, book counselling sessions and read articles written by experts giving advice on mental health and wellbeing. If you are struggling to know where to begin, because finding support can be overwhelming, this service is perfect for guiding you in the right direction.
The service also enables you to find mental health first aid training, which could be a very beneficial skill to have for future jobs and life experiences. They provide a wide range of articles such as advice on breathing techniques for anxiety and how to sleep. You can find interviews with people about their struggles with mental health; reading about other peoples’ experiences can make you feel less alone with how you feel. Their website is super accessible, so I would really recommend that you have a look to see what they can offer to you!
Throughout the pandemic, volunteers at the crisis helplines have been working tirelessly to ensure that the people in this country are listened to and helped with any problems that they are facing. If you wish to speak to someone anonymously, you can phone or text any of the crisis helplines at any time of the day or night and someone will be there to help you.
Young Minds, Crisis Textline, Samaritans, Papyrus HOPELINEUK and The Mix are all services that are there for you if you need support. They all provide a safe place where you can talk about how they are feeling without feeling judged. Many of their websites also provide information and advice as well, so if you don’t feel that you can talk to them, there are so many other resources there which can help.
Having a discussion with someone you trust can make you look at your worries and problems from an outsiders’ perspective, which may help you to resolve any inner conflicts or issues that you are facing. Hearing another person’s opinions or outlooks can really help you to come to terms with your emotions and think about them in a different way. As I said earlier, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Arranging a coffee or a walk with someone you trust can enable you to open up and ask them for the support that you need. Don’t feel like you have to tell them everything and don’t feel like you have to downplay how you feel, they care about you and want to know how you feel so they can offer you the support you deserve.
No one deserves to go through anything alone, whether you are experiencing a break-up, coping with the passing of a loved one or if you are struggling with university, your feelings are valid. We all have our individual ways of reaching out to others, and I have spoken about only a few of the many ways that you can do this. You aren’t alone.
Contribution by Tara Reynolds, undergraduate student at the University of Liverpool.