Poor mental health can make people feel isolated, worthless, and ashamed. So, it is unfortunate that it affects so many people. One in four will struggle with mental health at some point in their lives. Yet many still worry about the stigma that surrounds mental health, which may prevent people from talking about how they feel or seeking help.
Time to Change is a social movement that aims to improve attitudes towards mental health. This year, they are championing Time to Talk Day on the 6th February to promote conversations around mental health. But it’s not just about talking. The initiative is really about getting people listening, so that those who really need to talk about their mental health feel comfortable to do so. Time to Change is challenging the stigma surrounding mental health by helping people recognise the signs of poor mental health and raising awareness for strategies to help people who may be struggling. They are encouraging friends, family, and colleagues to check-in on their loved ones and listen without judgement. Many people struggling with mental health may feel guilty for their problems and ashamed of needing support, so understanding that it’s okay to feel as they do, and that there is someone who wants to listen is often the first step to recovery.
For someone who is having mental health issues, opening up about how they are feeling can seem like the most terrifying thing in the world and may make them feel vulnerable. However, talking about their feelings can be hugely therapeutic. As attitudes towards mental health start to change, many people want to help but often don’t know how. Some worry they will say the wrong thing; others worry they will make it awkward between them and a friend. To help break the ice and make conversations easier and more natural, Time to Change is using the game ‘Would you rather?’.
They have also provided some useful tips to help initiate conversations:
1. Pick a natural time and place such as over coffee or while stuck in traffic
2. Ask open questions like “How does that affect you” and really listen
to the answer
3. Avoid giving advice. Listening alone can be hugely beneficial
4. Be patient, some people take time to feel ready to talk about
how they are feeling. Don’t give up on someone just because they
weren’t ready the first time you tried.
Time to Talk Day offers an opportunity to initiate conversations around mental health. However, to be effective, these strategies must be implemented more than once a year. Solaris Health has a dedicated Mental Health First Aider who is always available for a confidential chat. We regularly host breakfast meetings and post-work events as opportunities for everyone to discuss how they are feeling in the workplace, in a comfortable and relaxed environment.
You can read more about the campaign at: