Starting conversations

Talking about how you feel isn’t always easy. It can be hard to know what to say first or describe how you feel, but it can be a big help to share your feelings with someone who cares.

Who should I talk to?

Different people can help you in different ways depending on what you need, from someone to just listen, to someone who can offer you professional advice or treatment.

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Someone close to you

You can use our Find Your MindMates tool to help work out who’s best to talk to.

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A professional or expert

If you don’t have a usual doctor, Find Local Services – GP could help you find one nearby.

Your GP can also decide if it would help you to speak to a trained professional such as a counsellor or therapist. If you want to find a private therapist, costs can vary and you should make sure they are qualified. Check out our  What’s in Leeds for Me to  find someone local to you.

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Someone online

Wondering about sharing your feelings online? It can feel easier than face to face, but just remember that this can open up your conversations to people who might be unhelpful or even hurtful.

It could be a good idea to use a messageboard specially designed to talk about how you are feeling such as this one from Childline which has special measures in place to make sure your info is confidential and users respect each other.

What should I talk about?

Before you talk to someone about your feelings, it can help if you plan what you want to say. There’s a few ways of making this easier.

Planning what to say

  • Our ‘Think, Feel, Want’ sheet can help you to get your thoughts together.
  • Doc Ready’s check list can help you to think of and remember everything you want to talk with your doctor about.
    (Privacy info: Doc Ready doesn’t store anything that they or anyone else can link to you. We recommend you read the full privacy info).
  • If you don’t want to write anything down, recording your feelings on a voice recorder app to play back can help.

Be prepared for different reactions

  • A doctor or other expert will ask you lots of questions.
  • Someone who’s close to you may not quite know how to react at first, so give them a moment; they might not be expecting what you’re telling them. This article from Rise Above could help them.
  • has some ideas to help you handle different reactions.

How do I start a conversation?

There are lots of ways you could start your conversation, here are some suggestions to get the conversation started.

Talking to a doctor

If you’re talking to a doctor, you’ll usually start with a 10 minute appointment to talk things through. You could answer their questions or hand over something you’ve written.

Talking to someone close to you

If you’ve chosen someone close to you, making a plan for the time where you have them to yourself can help, like invite them to go for a walk, paint their nails or have a cup of tea.

Need some conversation suggestions?

Time to Change has some useful conversation starters

Practice makes perfect

Rehearsing your opening line to help you get the words out can really help... like ”I’ve been feeling...”

What happens next?

It’s important to keep talking about your feelings with someone. Here are some handy tips to help keep the conversation going.

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Give your MindMate some homework before your next visit!

Providing your friend/MindMate with a website for ideas will help them to be able to help you.

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Arrange another meet up

Arrange your next time to catch up or a regular time to talk to keep the momentum going.

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Help them to help you

Give them a small job to help you, like looking online for some ideas to help you, or to look out for you at school or work.

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A professional will help you

If you’ve spoken with your doctor, they will suggest what you can do next and who else to speak to.

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Make a plan!

Your MindMate and you can work out a plan together. Don’t forget to check out our other Healthy Minds pages for more ideas.

Useful links