Today [01 February] is Time To Talk Day, a nationwide push to get people talking more openly about mental health.
Here’s everything you need to know about the campaign that aims to shatter the stigma surrounding mental illness and to show anywhere can be the right place to talk about mental health.
What is Time To Talk Day?
Time to Talk Day is organised by Time to Change, the campaign to change how we all think and act about mental health problems led by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
Time to Talk Day aims to get as many people as possible talking about mental health. People can struggle to find the right time or place to talk about mental health, so Time to Change is asking people to have a conversation wherever they are – at home, at school, or even at the top of a mountain.
Why does it matter to me?
One in four of us will experience a mental health problem, but many of us are too afraid to talk about it. Starting a conversation about mental health might seem daunting, but simply sending a text, checking in on a friend or sharing something on social media can break the ice.
Dr Tom Tasker, GP at St Andrews Medical Centre in Eccles and chair of NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Mental health is a topic we should all feel able to talk about. It is common and can affect any one of us, yet too often people are afraid to talk openly about mental health for fear of being judged. Having these all important conversations can make a big difference to many people. The more we talk, the more lives we can change.
How can I get involved?
Take that step and start a conversation about mental health with a trusted friend, family member, partner or colleague. Send a text, an email, a tweet or a Facebook message, or chat to someone on your tea break.
How do I even start a conversation about mental health?
If you have a friend, a colleague or family member that you’re worried about, remember that you don’t have to fix it, just being there will help them and it can be as simple as offering to meet up for a coffee or play a game of pool.
Dr Tasker said: “Often it can be easier to talk side-by-side, so as you’re out walking or in the car, than it is to have a face-to-face conversation, which can be a bit more intimidating. Don’t treat them differently, keep doing the things you’d normally do together. There is not a specific way to start a conversation about mental health, but the important thing is that you just start.”
Where can I get more help and advice?
The Time To Change website, www.time-to-change.org.uk, has resources that can help – from a ‘conversation starter’ game to suggestions on different ways you can raise the topic.
Mind in Salford provides information on types of mental health problems and where to get help. They are open 9am-6pm on weekdays and can be contacted by calling 0300 123 3393 or emailing email@example.com
There is also a website aimed at 11 – 19 year olds in Salford, www.wuu2.info which has information on local support for young people experiencing mental health problems.