Take a Load Off: How to Start a Conversation About Mental Health

Posted by Ryderwear HQ on

The only thing heavy on your mind should be your weights

While we squat twice our bodyweight without a second thought, opening up about mental health is something many people find daunting. Even though we know that nobody is immune from mental health issues, decades of stigma and misunderstanding can often make it hard to be vulnerable and admit when you’re not feeling your best. But it’s okay to not be okay.

Mental health is just as important as physical wellness for us at Ryderwear - without a healthy mind you can’t live your best life, which is what we’re empowering our community to do.

Starting a conversation about mental health can sometimes be the difference between suffering in silence and getting the support needed. That’s why we want to share these powerful tips for having those heavy conversations, whether you want to open up about how you're feeling, or empower someone you know to be mentally strong and have an honest discussion.


01. Create an environment that feels good for you
Whether you’re opening up to a coworker or family member, think about having the conversation in a place that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. While this will be entirely different for each individual, it’s worth thinking about factors like noise levels, privacy and space. They’re small yet impactful things which can help you feel at ease.

02. Be direct and specific
Opening up can be daunting, but being direct and specific can help let the other person know how important this conversation is, especially if you haven’t made it clear beforehand what you want to talk about. Being too vague might mean the person you’re speaking to doesn’t fully realise the extent of your mental health issues or how you’ve been feeling, and might not be able to provide enough support moving forward. Try providing clear and specific examples of how the way you’ve been feeling has affected your life.

03. Find references to break the ice
If you’re not sure how to bring up how you’ve been feeling, one way to break the ice is to start a discussion, either in person or online, by referring to an article that references or explores mental health. It could even be an article about your favourite athletes or celebs who’ve spoken openly about mental health like The Rock, or even people in the fitness community like Lauren Simpson. You can use these references as a segue to the conversations that you want to have.

04. Go in with a goal
Think about going into this conversation with an end goal in mind. It can be something as simple as letting your friend know about your mental health status, or that you’re thinking about starting therapy. This will help provide some direction and focus to your conversation, as well as normalise talking about mental health & wellbeing.


01. Find the right environment
Creating a space where that person feels empowered and comfortable is essential, so that they can converse while in a good mental space without any distractions! This could be following a workout, outdoors, going for a drive or even while doing an activity like low intensity cardio, so you can talk while the focus is not entirely on the conversation. It’s all about creating a space to share and receive support.

02. Ask open questions
While you might worry about being invasive or prying when it comes to conversations about mental health, it’s always better to ask the question. Asking open ended questions will give the other person the chance to answer how they best see fit. ‘You don’t seem yourself lately, is there anything you’d like to talk about?’ is a great way of initiating an honest conversation while allowing the other person to remain private if they don't feel comfortable yet.

03. Ask twice
If you only ask once, it can often lead to a meaningless or hesitant exchange (many people are instinctively guarded about their mental health). Try asking again with interest, and show a genuine willingness to listen. You’ll be surprised how simply asking again can empower others to open up about how they’re really feeling. If you want to have a conversation about mental health, next time they say they’re fine, try asking ‘how are you really?’

04. You’re there to listen, not to cure
While it can be tough seeing someone you care about going through a difficult time, try and resist the urge to offer quick solutions or simplistic answers. These early conversations aren’t about finding a cure or instantly mending that person’s mental health within the space of one discussion - learning to manage or recover from mental health issues can be a long road. One of the most powerful things you can do is be a good listener, so go in with the mindset of simply being a shoulder to lean on, and only offer advice if they’ve asked for it directly.

If you or anyone you know needs help
-Lifeline on 13 11 14
-Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
-Headspace on 1800 650 890
-MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
-To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123 (free from any phone), email jo@samaritans.org or visit a branch in person.
-If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 1300 304 7000 (4:30pm - 10:30pm every day)
-If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can call 1800-273-8255 to reach a 24 hour crisis center, or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line
-You can also call 1800-985-5990 or text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746 at the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline. Trained crisis workers will listen to you and direct you to the resources you need.

Tags:RW Community