We all have mental health.

When we break a bone, we see a doctor. So why don't we talk more openly about seeing a therapist to support our mental health? Mental health is a crucial part of our overall wellness. By talking more about mental health, we can prevent suffering in silence.

Anyone can experience mental health issues

One in five people experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. That's almost twice the amount of Americans who are living with diabetes. Mental health issues are serious and needed to be treated with just as much care as any other chronic health issue. 

What does mental illness look like?

People experience mental health issues in ways that are unique to them. Here are a few common signs and symptoms:

  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Increased drug or alcohol use
  • Extreme mood changes 
  • Avoiding friends, family or social activities
  • Thinking or talking about suicide
  • Prolonged feelings of anger, sadness or hopelessness

How to talk to someone you're concerned about

Getting someone to open up can be hard. If you're worried about someone you know, it's important to check in with them. Here are some tips.

Choose the right location

Find a place where you can talk privately. You also want to pick somewhere comfortable and familiar. 

Show that you're listening

One of the best ways to show support is to simply listen. Use welcoming body language by keeping a relaxed and open posture. Give them space to open up, but don't press them if they're having trouble. Instead of sharing your opinion, listen to them describe their emotions.

Ask the right questions

Show your friend or loved one you care by allowing them to share their feelings at their own pace. Some questions you can ask include:

  • "How's it going? Is there something you want to talk about?"
  • "You haven't seemed yourself lately. Do you want to talk about anything?"
  • "How's everything going? I have time to listen and I care about you."

How to move forward

After listening to someone you care about, it's important to respond in a non-judgmental way. Show your support without telling them what to do.

  • Ask how you can support them.
  • Let them know you're there for them.
  • Stay in contact and regularly check in to see how they're doing.
  • Honor their boundaries. People process issues in a personal way, and some prefer more privacy than others.

Where to get help

We're here when you need us. If you or someone you know need help, contact us at any time. Here are the best ways to get help:

Call us: 

Mental Health Call Center
24/7 mental health support to all Multnomah County residents.

Visit us:

Urgent Walk-In Clinic
Open every day, 7 am to 10:30 pm. Face-to-face counseling for adults, children and families.
4212 SE Division St., Suite 100
Portland, OR  97206