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Last updated on November 28th, 2023.

Mental health is a struggle that a lot of people face daily. Sometimes it can be not easy to talk to someone, particularly a family member. There is fear of judgment and a potential lack of understanding that looms through your mind as your mind is racing at the thought of becoming vulnerable to a loved one. So, this can beg the question, how can you go about talking to a family member about your mental health?

There are different ways to speak with a family about your mental health. Depending on your relationship with them, these tips can vary; however, an essential step for your family member to observe is if your mental health is becoming more severe and understand what mental health means.

Some do not understand what mental health means or what it can entail. Read more about the meaning of mental health and what can cause it to decline, along with five tips for talking with a family member about your mental health.

As a digital publisher, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp, Online Therapy, Talkspace or similar programs if you purchase products or services through the links provided.

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What does Mental Health mean?​

So, what does mental health mean? Mental health is way of describing our emotional emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Having excellent and balanced mental health starts from childhood into adulthood; however, some cannot experience such.

Those who experience mental health issues tend to have problems with their mood shifting from good to bad behavior (or rather, creative to destructive), and their way of thinking and the choices they make can originate from that person’s mental health.

Many factors cause your mental health to decline if not adequately treated or within a timely manner. Read more about the different aspects of why your mental health could be declining.

What can cause our Mental Health to decline?

There are various reasons why a person’s mental health can decline. Of the various reasons there are typically five primary reasons someone’s mental health could decline.

  • Addiction
  • Trauma
  • Anxiety & Stress
  • Physical Ailments
  • Genetics

Each of these are discussed further below.


Addictions come in all shapes and sizes.  From substance to traumatic or even sex addictions.  Abusing drugs or alcohol can have impacts within different hormonal or neurological systems within the body, impacting decision making, behavior and overall health.  There are multiple studies validating these showing clear deterioration of the mass of the your frontal cortex. (source: NCBI). Your frontal lobe is a part of your brain responsible for your judgment and mood and, once damaged, can have a significant decline in your mental health. Once you’ve further declined in your addiction, it can be difficult to treat your mental illness properly when trying to recover from your addiction.


Whether it is within childhood or adulthood, going through a traumatic experience can determine your mental health and impact your trust in others and decision making if not addressed. Trauma can range from sexual abuse and domestic violence to experiencing racism.


Stressful events, such as an accident or losing a job, can significantly impact your mental health due to how overwhelmed you would be feeling, especially if these stressful events are happening on a back-to-back basis.

Physical Ailments

Physical ailments can also lead to a decline in Mental Health.  Simple ailments that persist like chronic back pain and arthritis can lead to a lower sense of self-ability.  More serious ailments such as a brain defect or head injury, whether from childhood or adulthood, can indicate, for some, mental illness declining. Some of these physical ailments can be linked to mental illness as stress and fatigue settle within the nervous system.  


Mental illness can be genetically linked to a family member. Those in their family who have a mental illness are likely to pass it down to a family member who can become susceptible to developing it. Aside from a hereditary link, mental illness can also be enhanced through the person’s environment if they have suffered from abuse or poverty throughout their childhood.

In trying to find a link to what could cause your mental illness to decline, another critical aspect is to communicate your mental illness to family so that they have a good, general understanding of what you are going through. Read more to learn how to talk to a family member about your mental health.

How Do You Talk To A Loved One About Mental Health?

An essential aspect of one’s mental health journey can communicate with loved ones about their mental health to have a sound support system. Speaking to a family member about your mental health can, in essence, vary from person to person, so the outcome is not prone to be the same. However, there are steps that one can try to take to talk to their family about how they are feeling.

Read more about the five tips for talking to a family member about your mental health.

5 Tips for Talking to a Family Member About Your Mental Health

So, how do you talk to your family about your Mental Health?  How do you open up and have the conversations that are hardest and ask those who love you to help you get back on track?  The short answer is simply honestly, but it’s never quite that simple.  Some tips to help navigate would be helpful, right?  Here are five tips for talking to a family member about your mental health.

  1. Talk in a Comfortable Setting
  2. Talk About What Makes you Comfortable (and uncomfortable)
  3. Educate Them About Your Mental Illness 
  4. Have Clear Boundaries Set (Your boundaries, not theirs)
  5. Accept the Help and Support When Offered

1. Talk in a Comfortable Setting

Choose a setting that you know will make you comfortable talking with your family. This can occur in a private, more secluded, environmentally-friendly space or a public area with many people. Also, decide whether or not you want to speak with everyone in your family at once or one at a time.

2. Talk About What Makes You Comfortable

You do not have to share everything about your mental health, so speak about what makes you comfortable at the moment. If your family members are trying to remain persistent in knowing everything, stand your ground and make it known that this will not happen.

3. Educate Them About Your Mental Illness

Based on your comfortability, explain your mental illness so that your family can have a good grasp on what you are going through as a way of educating them. If you feel as though verbally explaining your mental illness will not work or makes you uncomfortable, then provide them with videos, documentaries, articles, or anything else to help with explaining so that they can understand you better.

Talk to a Family Member About Their Mental Health

4. Have Clear Boundaries Set

Set clear boundaries either before or in-between, and you explain your mental illness to your family. Make it known that you do not want advice from them, but just for them to listen and not judge. But if you want some form of help, inform them how you want them to help you but do not give advice unless you ask them to.

5. Accept the Help and Support When Offered

Suppose they do offer to provide help, through simple support or however else, learn to accept the support as a form of endearment and care from your family members. When offered, being willing to take help can be a form of rapport between you and your family members and helps you build a robust support system when needed.

After having a conversation with your family about your mental health, you can also turn to speak to a therapist online to prevent your mental health from declining. Read more to learn about some of the resources you can use at your convenience.

A Few Great Mental Health Online Resources

Speaking to a therapist can be an effective tool for mental health. Online therapy is a very convenient resource for those who are always on the go or would instead conduct their sessions at home due to comfortability. Online mental health resources can include:


These are the tips that you can implement when considering talking to your family members about your mental health and a couple of online resources for online counseling.

(Here’s and article on the factors for a healthy family relationship.)

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