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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A professional or expert

If you are 13-17 years you can contact the MindMate SPA directly to ask for support with your mental health.

MindMate has lots of information about support options for young people in Leeds

Your GP can also help you decide whether to speak to a trained professional such as a counsellor or therapist.

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Someone close to you

You may well have people in your life already who support you or could support you if you are able to talk to them. Use our Find Your MindMates tool to help work out who’s best to talk to.

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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 specially-designed messageboard, such as the ChildLine messageboard, specially designed to talk about how you are feeling. This board 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. Rise Above could help them.
  • Time-to-change.org.uk 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 some easy homework 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

Find your MindMates

Our fun tool can help you to work out who’s in your life and who could support you.

Find your MindMates now

Find a GP near you

Just enter your postcode to find your nearest GP.

Find a GP

Doc Ready

This handy site helps you to get ready to talk to your doctor or other professional.

Doc Ready

Time To Change.org.uk - understanding different reactions

Help with understanding different reactions when you talk about how you feel.

Time to Change

Time To Change – supporting someone you know

Information and tips on supporting someone you know.

Time to Change

Rise Above

Advice on how to comfort a friend in need.

Rise Above

What's in Leeds for me?

See what services in Leeds might be right for you.

What's in Leeds for me?