It’s Time to Talk

Time to Talk Day is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation, encouraging us all to come together to talk, listen, and change lives. Simply being there and available for someone to reach out to is enough to make an impact. Offering someone a time to talk can make a huge difference to their day, their week and their life.

Awareness days are great. They bring important subjects into mainstream and help start vital conversations to help improve lives. Unfortunately, tomorrow is another day and sometimes all the hope and passion stemmed from the posts, the emails, the campaigns are already forgotten. I won’t

If you only take one thing away from today it should be this. EVERY DAY gives us a new opportunity to talk, to change, to act. Our mental health is worth our attention every single day.

Let’s get into it.

According to Mind, one in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year, with approximately only 1 in 8 of those getting any kind of treatment. Why?

There are probably 101 different reasons as to why someone mind not be getting treatment; not having access to appropriate support, availability and long wait times, as well as not being eligible for certain services, (just to name a few.) Another common reason is stigma.

There are thousands of us in the UK struggling with mental health, and yet there’s still a strong stigma in the air. According to Mental Health Foundation, ‘nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives.’

This comes from society, the media, our colleagues and even our own friends and family. In fact, you may even experience internalised stigma, where you believe the negative messages or stereotypes about yourself (you can learn more about this here).

So, what’s the answer? How can be break down stigma and change the conversation?

Conversations have the power to change lives. Choosing to be open and honest about our mental health helps to end stigma, and contribute to a changing narrative around mental illness and wellbeing. This is really important. Changing the conversation will ensure that everyone feels supported and heard, and no longer isolated because of mental health issues.

Time to Talk Day, whilst just a day, is helping to create supportive communities. It encourages those who perhaps never realised their own impact to talk openly about mental health and empower us to seek help when we need it, without shame or stigma.

Let’s be honest. It’s been an uncertain couple of years. The pandemic and measures placed to protect us have increased isolation and loneliness for many of us, contributing to declining mental health. We all live in hope that 2022 will give us more freedom and new opportunities to reconnect and catch up with those friends and relatives that we’ve not seen for a while.

Our Top Ten Tips for Being There for Someone

  1. Let them know that you are available whenever they are ready to talk.
  2. Make sure to create a secure and safe space for them to be honest with you.
  3. Be sure to offer non-judgemental advice and listen to what they’re saying.
  4. Always remember that their mental illness doesn’t define them.
  5. Offer to help out with things like cleaning, shopping or day-care to give them some time for self-care.
  6. Make sure you give them time and space to reflect. Don’t overcrowd or pester them.
  7. Have considered conversations and saying things like ‘it will pass’ or ‘just need to keep busy’.
  8. Be compassionate, but don’t show concern or fear.
  9. Be direct and don’t patronise them – this will not help.
  10. If you can, encourage them to speak to their GP or a professional

If you’re struggling at the moment, know that you are not alone. If you don’t have a person in your life that you would feel comfortable talking to reach out to a professional, starting with you GP. You can also choose to make a referral to First Steps ED where we can provide non-clinical early intervention and prevention services, support groups, workshops, counselling and other peer support programmes (learn more here!)

So, today we bring you a challenge: Start a conversation about mental health.

You can do this in a number of ways;

  • Text a friend you’ve not spoken to for a while, check in and see how they’re doing.
  • Email a colleague and see if they’d like to go for coffee
  • Call a loved one for a catch up (it’s been a while!)
  • Or why not share your story and start a wider conversation…

However you do it, have a conversation about mental health this Time to Talk Day.

Contributed by Lucy Robinson

Fundraising, Marketing and Communications Lead