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About Self-Management Support NZ

This website is designed for health providers who are interested in self-management, care planning, health literacy and working in partnership with their clients, patients and families.

If you have suggestions of new resources or general feedback, please contact support@healthnavigator.org.nz.

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SMS NZ © 2019 by Health Navigator NZ & Health Literacy NZ.

Talking with family & friends

Communication is important for developing strong relationships. This could mean discussing a tricky topic with a loved one, talking about a health issue with your healthcare provider and much more.

Most of us would agree that good communication is vital for building strong relationships, whether it’s raising a sensitive topic with someone you care about or talking to your friends and family about your own health. This section provides advice, information and resources that may help for better conversations.

Raising a sensitive topic


If you, or someone close to you, is facing a challenge, talking about it can be helpful and make it seem less daunting. However, sometimes it can be hard to start a conversation, particularly if it is about a sensitive or emotional issue.

Talking to a family member or friend about a health problem can be hard, but communication is very important for keeping families close and well connected. Many couples and families go through life without saying how much they care about the other.

It is necessary for everyone to talk honestly and freely about what they’re feeling. Having open and honest conversations may not only reduce episodes of stress; it may also encourage closeness and emotional support. You may be worried about a partner, family member or friend you think should make changes to avoid becoming sick, or you may be thinking about making changes yourself. Whatever the reason – it’s always good to talk and share ideas.

Getting the conversation started 

Tip 1: Be reassuring and tell them how much you care for them and how important they are to you.

Tip 2: Offer help and support, help them talk through the issue and ask how you can help.

Tip 3: Brainstorm a few ideas together – see our problem-solving section.

Tip 4: Avoid arguing and nagging them about making changes.

Tip 5: Focus on the good things about making changes.