How to respectfully communicate what you need and want

We all have feelings and’s only human!  

Being able to communicate what we feel and need in a respectful way is a learned skill and like with any skill, we become better at it with practice. Assertive communication is the ability to respectfully let others know how you feel or what you think. Learning to be aware of our emotions and communicate them to others is the first step to enjoy the good mental health you deserve.  

On this Mental Health Action Day, let's make it normal to talk about our feelings and needs!




Mental Health

1. Know what you feel and need. Being able to recognize our feelings and needs is a skill that anyone can practice. Here are some things to try: 

  • Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day. Did helping a friend make you feel proud? Did reading a kind text make you feel joy? Did not doing well on an exam make you feel dissappointed? 

  • Expand your emotional vocabulary. How many feelings can you name? What are different ways to describe feeling happy, sad, angry, afraid? 

  • Keep a journal. Regularly writing down how you feel and why you feel that way is a good way to help you become more self-aware. 

  • Express yourself through music, art, dance or other creative ways. These are all ways to connect with and express your feelings. 


Animation about mental health conversations

2. Use “I” statements. Starting your sentences with “I” shows that you take ownership of your feelings. Using “you” statements often places focus or blame on others. 

😊 Try Saying This

🤨 Avoid Saying This
I feel stressed when I am running late, can we leave earlier? You always make us late!
I feel frustrated right now You frustrate me!
I feel unheard, can I have a chance to say something? You never listen to me!
It makes me upset when I’m left out  You always make plans without me!


Illustration about conversations

3. Say "no". Learning when and how to say no is an important way to take care of yourself. Saying "no" can be difficult. Here are some things that might help: 


Let others know they matter, but you do too: 

  • “I appreciate that, but no thank you.” 

  • “I care about you, but I can’t.”  

  • “I can see why this might suit you, but it doesn’t work well for me.” 

Explain your reason for saying no: 

  • “I can’t because I have another commitment already.” 

  • “I wish I could, but unfortunately I don’t have enough time this week.”  

  • “To be honest, I don’t feel comfortable with this, so I will have to say no.” 

Suggest an alternative: 

  • “Today I don’t have time, but perhaps in a few weeks?” 

  • “This isn’t very realistic for me, perhaps you could ask John?”  

  • “I don’t want to watch a movie right now, but what about if we went for a walk instead?” 



How to take care of yourself during stressful times

COVID-19 has made the world pretty different right now. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed by it all, be assured that this is a normal response. But it does mean that you need to make sure you look after your mental health.

Here are some tips to take care of yourself, learn to navigate through tough times at home while you spend more time with family, and become problem solvers to overcome challenges.

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Five tips for young people feeling anxious

We all feel anxious from time to time when facing situations that are uncertain, scary, or challenging.

Young people go through many changes and new experiences, so feeling anxious is very common. And the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a new set of challenges, increasing the risk of anxiety for many.  

It can feel overwhelming, but there are things we can all do to keep it from taking over. Here are 5 steps to try


Animation about mental health