There are an enormous number of inspiring and thought-provoking TED Talks on all sorts of topics, from mental health, to social issues, to science. Here are 5 TED Talks that I often find myself recommending to clients, colleagues and friends. The five I’ve selected here are focused on the self, mental health and wellbeing.  Let me know which of these you find interesting and feel free to share your recommendations.

Sometimes the idea of admitting that we have a problem is the hardest step. Especially if we are fighting against ideas of masculinity, or even just our own deep prejudices about what mental health is. As Sangu says, “mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and our social wellbeing” and “being honest about how we feel does not make us weak – it makes us human.”

Brené Brown is a renowned academic. She studies how we relate and with each other and how we can truly connect. As Brené says, connection is why we’re here! The powerful idea that comes from this talk is that “we can’t practice compassion for others unless we can be kind to ourselves.” Vulnerability is at the heart of the counselling relationship and Brené Brown asks us to find the courage to be imperfect.

As an introvert myself, this is perhaps my favourite TED talk. It is certainly the one that has had the most impact on my self-understanding. Instead of fighting to fit into an extrovert world, this talk (and her book) have showed me the strength of my introversion. I have recognised a similar conflict in many of my clients and this talk has been of great help to them too.

Suicide is a difficult topic for any of us to talk about. Sometimes we are too nervous or embarrassed to talk about it. Jeremy challenges us to start a conversation and end the stigma around suicide. We need to listen and not judge. As he says, “we need the whole community to wrap around the idea of suicide prevention.”

If this talk affects you please remember that the Samaritans are available to talk to at any time.

This isn’t technically a TED Talk but it is just too important to leave off my Top 5. Lucy Johnstone is challenging the idea that our distress should be diagnosed.  She is a clinical psychologist working against mental health labels. As she says, we need to stop ask ‘what is wrong with you’ and instead ask ‘what happened to you’.  This approach is at the heart of Person-Centred counselling and is essential to my own work as a counsellor.