We will be joining Time to Change once again for Time to Talk Day on Thursday 4 February.
Time to Talk Day is the day chosen to get the nation talking about mental health. This year’s event might look a little different, but at times like this open conversations about mental health are more important than ever.
This year’s theme is The Power of Small.
A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference.
We know that the more conversations we have, the more myths we can bust and barriers we can break down, helping to end the isolation, shame and worthlessness that too many of us with mental health problems are made to feel.
Please support us in starting the conversation this Time to Talk Day – together we can end mental health stigma.
Here are our top tips for speaking to someone you might be worried about:
Sending a simple message saying “hello, how are you doing?” or even a joke or meme that you think will make them smile with a message like “I thought you’d find this funny, hope you’re doing okay”, is a good place to start. This will help the other person know that you are thinking about them.
Stay in touch:
Try to not be offended if they take a long time to reply or don’t reply to your first message. Sometimes when people are struggling with their mental health, they find it really hard to speak to people, so it may take them some time. Don’t give up after your first try; message again to show you really care about how they are doing.
Suggest an activity:
Maybe a gaming or movie night, zoom catch up or quiz or you could meet up for a walk in the park. Doing an activity together can help show the other person that you care and that you are interested in spending time with them, albeit remotely at the current time. Spending more time together may help them feel more comfortable with you, which might lead to them feeling able to share how they have been feeling.
Be aware of changes:
If someone is struggling with their mental health, you might notice some changes to their personality. For example, they might become more angry, tired, forgetful, worried or sensitive. Bear this in mind when talking to them and try not to take things personally. Be kind and patient with them.
Look to celebrities:
There are lots of celebrities who have spoken publicly about their mental health – Dwayne Johnson, Rio Ferdinand, Demi Lovato and Kendrick Lamar to name just a few. Try using celebrities and their experiences as a way to start a conversation about mental health. This will help show the other person that mental health is something you feel comfortable talking about. It can also help you both discuss how mental health is something no one should feel ashamed of, it affects everyone, even the people you would least expect.
If the person you are worried about opens up to you, be there to listen. It can feel hard knowing what to say, but don’t worry about ‘not saying the right thing’. You don’t need to try and ‘fix’ them or give expert advice. Simply being there, being understanding and non-judgemental, and hearing what they have to say is a massive step in that person’s journey towards feeling better.
If you are worried about someone’s mental health, don’t be afraid to suggest that they phone a helpline (such as Samaritans on 116 123) or speak to their GP about how they have been feeling.
Find out more about Time to Talk Day, download resources, materials and activity packs here.