Mental distress is very common – most of us will experience it at some point in our lives. Yet, many fear talking about it, especially when the experience creates fear, shame and anxiety. If someone’s experience is intense and overwhelming they may find it hard to put into words. Be patient and show you are listening non-judgementally and that you have heard them. We often think we know what the person is going through because we’ve read up on the “symptoms” associated with a label or diagnosis, but every person is unique and experiences things differently. Let them tell you what it’s like for them. Discuss what you’ve heard and start the kōrero.