Asking about someone’s mental health is never easy and you might imagine that right now it could be even more difficult. But I think it may actually be easier. After all, no one will think twice at the moment if you ask them how things are affecting them? They might even think you’re a thoughtless bugger if you don’t.

So if you’re concerned they may be down, tell them so – gently. Use an open-ended statement that forces them to speak up rather than a closed question that simply requires a yes or no answer. Having done so, there are three scenarios:

1. Susie tells you she is fine and she’s telling the truth. She thinks you are a good person for caring enough to ask.

2. Susie tells you she is fine, but is lying. No worries. You’ve opened a door for her through which she can walk should she wish to talk later. Susie thinks you are a great person.

3. Susie says she is miserable and is hugely relieved someone has asked. She thinks you are the world’s best and names her first born child after you – regardless of the sex. That’s how to get the conversation started. Finishing it, is for another Post.

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