Mental health matters: Time to Talk Day

Though there is a wider understanding of mental health in society today, actually talking about mental health problems can still feel like a taboo or daunting subject, leaving many to feel isolated and ashamed with nowhere to turn.

This Time to Talk Day (Thursday 6th Feb – but don’t restrict yourself to just this day), why don’t you start the conversation? Whether you want to talk about how you’re feeling, your own experiences, or you may wish to encourage others around you to open up, we all need to speak up and listen more to kick-start a change in the perception and stigma, and create safe spaces where we can openly discuss mental health.

There is no right or wrong way to talk about mental health. If you know someone has experienced mental health difficulties, try asking them how they’re doing. Bringing up this sort of subject may seem daunting but by being sincere in your approach and by asking open-ended questions, you are showing you are listening, encouraging the conversation to keep going and letting them know you care. Which is all we really want at the end of the day, to know someone cares.

And if someone is not ready to talk about their experience, this is fine too. Letting them know that you are there should they need someone to talk with (as long as you mean it) can help to build a bridge for them another day, should they wish to reach out.

Not everyone has had, or will experience, mental health issues, but that doesn’t mean those individuals can’t relate. We all have difficulties, down periods and worry about things from time to time. If you don’t have a mental health experience to share, talk about your feelings and worries instead – we all have them and sharing them helps to show your understanding of a situation.

Opening up the conversation can encourage those with mental health problems to know they don’t have to suffer in silence, that what they are experiencing is nothing to be ashamed of, and that they can be honest about how they’re feeling without fear of judgement.