Take the time to have the conversation

If you’re worried about someone’s mental health please do make the time to catch them in a conversation.

It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, although it might be.

It doesn’t have to be an ‘intervention’ conversation: you know the ones that start with “I’m worried about you.”

It just needs to be a “How are you?” conversation. But not one of those rhetorical ones that simply wait for an “I’m fine” answer.

It’s the conversation that expects an honest answer to a genuine question. Which may mean that you’re asking the opening question a couple of times. Or if you know the person well enough, following up your opening question with a couple of other more personal questions.

But the point is that you expect an answer. And then you listen. And only ask more questions, or give affirmative, empathetic comments. No advice is needed here. It’s just listening to their answers.

If you’ve taken the time to earmark someone for a conversation don’t go into it with your own agenda. This is a conversation you’re having with them, for them. It’s not time to recount your own experiences or tell your own tales.

You never know how much difference a short but effective conversation will make, but it could well be the life line someone needs.

My challenge for you this week is to follow up a conversation with a person that you wonder about.

Make the time to take the time. You never know where that thread could lead you.