Giving Space to be Heard

This extract comes from an interview with Mallory Gothelf, a mental health advocate and creator of The Infinite Project. I asked Mallory how she suggests one can provide helpful support to someone struggling with their mental health:

“I think one of the most helpful ways to support someone struggling with their mental health, is to give them the space to speak and be heard. When one suffers from a mental illness it is isolating, you believe so deeply that nobody understands, nobody cares, and that you don’t matter. But if somebody says “talk to me”, “I want to understand”, “I want to hear what’s going through your head”, etc. they are validating your journey. They are letting you know that you’re worth their time.


Laura Schneider for HBR

It can give an individual the space to share their burden and not have to carry it on their own. It also allows for others to understand the most effective ways they can help during times when the sufferer needs support. For instance, when I’m in remission or having a period of reprieve, I’ve explained to the people in my life what helps when I am in the throes of an episode. I let them know what I need, what I might respond with when they go to assist me, and how they should approach each step after. By them taking the time to listen I can explain my needs, so if something were to happen I would receive the correct course of treatment. It also helps the other party as they feel less powerless and panicked when trying to help.

When the people in my life give me this space to talk and explain, I don’t feel the need to hide my mental illness, which is a large part of my life. It combats this ideal that I need to walk this road alone. Instead, I feel as though I’m surrounded by people who will lift me up when I feel as though I can’t take another step. An open conversation and being heard goes a long way in making those of us who struggle feel valued and worthy.”

Read more of Mallory’s interview here: (coming soon)

What helps you feel heard?

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