I Don't Know What's Wrong

Should I reach out for help, or am I experiencing normal stress?

Ask yourself the next few questions...

  • Have I been feeling this way for a prolonged period of time?
  • Is how I'm feeling affecting my everyday life in a negative way?
  • Am I dealing with my problems in unhealthy ways?

If you answered yes to these questions or are unsure, you should consider talking to someone.

It is understandable if you're afraid to talk about these issues. Just remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Mental health issues are treatable health conditions. When you talk with others about how you feel, you may be taking a crucial first step towards a better life.

Who can I reach out to?

Talk to someone you trust who is mature enough to handle what you'll tell them.

Good people to talk to include:

  • trusted adults/mentors
  • teachers
  • coaches
  • guidance counsellors
  • mature friends/peers
  • parents
  • public health nurse
  • family doctor

Sometimes you'll find it easier to talk to someone you don't know before reaching out to someone closer to you. Check out where to call or chat with a mental health referral and information specialist. When you call, ask any questions you may have — they're used to it. They will be able to help you figure out what to do next, and who to talk to.

I'm not sure what to say. What if I get tongue-tied?

It helps to write a list of everything you need to say, so you have a general idea of how it will go. Consider taking the list with you, so you can be prepared.

If you have trouble speaking to people, try writing a letter and giving it to someone you trust. Writing may make it easier to organize your thoughts, and to be specific about what help you feel you need.

How will they react?

When you reach out, people may react with many emotions.

They may feel upset that you didn't come to them sooner, or sad that you're having this problem. They could feel relieved that you're finally admitting to something that they have already noticed. They might be in denial that you're going through this, or feel uncertain about what to say or how to help. They could feel overwhelmed and may need some time alone to collect themselves before being able to speak with you.

Remember, their response is about their life, not yours. And despite their own struggles, feelings and experiences, most people will want to help you in any way they can.

If the first person you talk to does not give you a helpful response, reach out to someone else. You deserve help!

Checklist to make talking easier

If you're getting ready to talk to someone, but are still nervous about it, work through this checklist:

  • I know someone I can talk to that is trustworthy and mature enough to handle this information.
  • I have a place I feel safe where we can talk.
  • I have an idea of what I am going to say, a list of things I need to say, OR a letter to give them.
  • I have a time planned to talk to someone when I won't feel rushed and I know they aren't busy.

Ready to talk to someone? Learn about next steps you can take.

Will talking to someone help? Does therapy work?

Talking to someone will help you because it helps to unload. Remember that you deserve to voice your story and feelings. Reaching out to a sympathetic person will make a difference.

Most people report that counselling or therapy is helpful. It has been found that 87% of people who reported feeling "very poor" and 92% of those who said they felt "fairly poor" before therapy showed clear improvements by the end of treatment, and that improvement was long lasting.

Once you begin counselling or therapy, it is important to continue treatment in order for it to be effective. Improvement tends to increase as the number of counselling sessions increase.

Read on to see what it's like to talk to a therapist or a counsellor.

Last Updated: 
October 2012