At a glance

​Communication is the sharing of information between two people.

When providing support to a person living with a mental health condition it is important that communication works both ways.

A communication barrier is something that prevents either person from understanding the information they are being told.

A person who is experiencing a mental health concern may find that this experience makes it difficult to communicate. They may:
  • find it difficult to concentrate
  • be distracted by their emotions, voices that they hear or visions that they see
  • have strong reactions in response to what you say
  • be taking medication that affects their short term memory
  • not have the confidence to ask questions
  • feel that they have nothing of value to say
  • not feel safe
  • rather be alone.

- A person with lived experience of a mental health condition


Barriers to communication can be overcome by:

  • checking whether it is a good time and place to communicate with the person
  • being clear and using language that the person understands
  • communicating one thing at a time
  • respecting a person’s desire to not communicate
  • checking that the person has understood you correctly
  • communicating in a location that is free of distractions
  • acknowledging any emotional responses the person has to what you have said.

Don’t make any judgements about what someone may be experiencing, always ask!


How to check in with someone
This short video provides a reminder that the way to start a conversation is to ask, listen and support.
Type: Video
Viewing time: 1.40 minutes
Produced by: Beyond Blue

Utilise specialist communication skills to build strong relationships
This is an eLearning module to help build your communication skills. In order to access this training, you will need to set up an account.
Type: Web page
Produced by: QCOSS Community Door

Current as at: Monday 24 February 2020
Contact page owner: Mental Health