Talking to a therapist or someone you love about your mental health is difficult, and to start disclosing your mental health and illnesses to others around you (maybe a larger friend group, colleagues/peers, supervisors, etc) can be a huge leap of faith. We made this series so you can be fully informed about disclosing (if you chose to!).
Part 2: How-To
1. Consider why you're disclosing
You should never feel pressured to disclose your mental health! Make sure you are doing it in a safe environment with those you can trust.
In most disclosing mental health illnesses, & disabilities to an employer is always a choice, not a requirement.
2. If you choose to disclose: Start small!
Only share what you're most comfortable with, with the people you're most comfortable with. A friend or partner, family member, or therapist are great stepping stones.
If you've already disclosed to a few close people, you can ask them to practice with you for the next steps you're taking.
Maybe you want or need to disclose to a job or supervisor, ask a therapist or somebody you trust to practice how the conversation will go.
4. Drop some nuggets!
Honestly, we might all just be WAITING for someone to talk openly! By dropping nuggets of mental-health related topics, we can start to get a feel of the conversation depending on the audience.
5. Seek outside support
Mental health advocacy accounts, or online communities, are fabulous ways to find like-minded individuals to begin to feel comfortable sharing your journey. Have you joined our #PhDStrongerTogether Discord yet?
6. Some Phrases to Start the Conversation
My Sleep hasn't been the greatest lately....
This may prompt someone to ask why or maybe is something they can relate to.
My therapist mentioned this new documentary, have you seen it?
This normalises therapy, reduces stigma and you'd be surprised how many people will relate and feel comfortable talking with you about things their therapist said!
Hi Dr, XYZI, my document will be sent on Thursday instead of Tuesday because I am adjusting to a new medication.
They don't need to know what type of medication but hopefully they will understand that you are working through a personal situation. Even if they don't, be firm.
Can you think of any other Phrases to Start the Conversation?