Time to Talk Day

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Start a small conversation and make a big difference
Today, 4th February, is Time to Talk Day and we are asking you to take a minute and start those small conversations that may just make a big difference.

We all know that talking about mental health is not easy, but the benefits can be huge. Over the past few months, we have heard perhaps more than ever, about the importance of taking care of your mental health and wellbeing and the value in talking about how you’re feeling.

Time to Talk Day is run by Time to Change, England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination, run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. Around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem this year, yet the stigma that still exists can be as bad as the problem itself. Being honest, open and understanding about mental health issues really could save someone’s life. Time to Talk day encourages everyone to start having conversations about mental health.

This year, Time to Talk day is being run as an online festival with discussions on the power of talking, young people and mental health as well as cooking sessions and even a Bollywood dance lesson! All the festival events are available to watch here on the Virtual Festival webpage.      

There is no right way to talk about mental health, but the tips below, from the Time to Change website might help you in starting the conversation.

1. Ask questions and listen

Asking questions can give the person space to express how they’re feeling and what they’re going through, and it will help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open – such as “how does that affect you” or “what does it feel like?”

2. Think about the time and place

Sometimes it’s easier to talk side by side rather than face to face. So, if you do talk in person, you might want to chat while doing something else - when you’re walking, cooking or stuck in traffic. However, don’t let the search for the perfect place put you off!

3. Don’t try and fix it

It can be hard to see someone you care about having a difficult time but resist the urge to offer quick fixes. Learning to manage or recover from a mental health problem can be a long journey, and they’ve likely already considered lots of different tools and strategies. Just talking can be powerful, so unless they’ve asked for advice directly, try to just listen.

4. Treat them the same

When someone has a mental health problem, they’re still the same person as they were before, they don’t want to be treated any differently. If you want to support a friend or loved one, keep it simple. Do the things you'd normally do.

5. Be patient

No matter how hard you try, some people might not be ready to talk. That’s ok – the fact that you’ve tried to talk to them may make it easier for them to open up another time.

And even if they don’t want to talk, you could:

  • Do things together
  • Send a text to let them know you’re thinking of them
  • Offer to help with day-to-day tasks.

We want everyone at EEAST to feel supported when it comes to their mental health. If you need support or have any questions you can contact wellbeing@eastamb.nhs.uk in the first instance.

For immediate support please remember we have the Employee Assistance Program (0808 196 2370) and Crisis Line (0808 196 2374) both available 24/7.

 Published 4th February 2021