Have a conversation about mental health on Time to Talk Day 2019
Thursday 7th February is Time to Talk Day, a campaign that encourages people to break down stigmas by speaking about their mental health.
Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 of us, yet people are still reluctant and afraid to speak about it openly.
Time to Talk Day is a reminder that everyone benefits from knowing and understanding more about mental health.
The right ingredients
This year, the campaign is focused on bringing together the right ingredients to have a conversation about mental health, whether that’s over a cup of tea with a close friend or in a room full of people all committed to breaking down stigmas.
Tips for talking
Whether you want to discuss your own mental health or ask someone you care about theirs, here are some tips for starting the conversation.
Ask questions & listen
Giving someone space to express how they are feeling is important to open up a conversation. You don’t need to know the right thing to say – the best thing you can do is listen.
Try side by side
Face to face conversation can feel too confrontational at times. It’s often easier to open up when talking side by side, such as in the car together or out on a walk. Having something else to focus on – like walking or cooking – can help both of you feel more relaxed, and in turn, more open.
Don’t try and fix it
Talking about mental health isn’t about offering quick fixes, and sometimes trying to help the problem actually puts more pressure on the person suffering. Unless they’ve asked for advice directly, take the time to listen. The journey to good mental health can be a long and winding process and is about more than just getting on with things or taking some extra exercise, even if those are two strategies that might ultimately help. Being there to listen while they try and explain or make sense of what they’re going through may well be the most powerful form of support you can offer in that moment.
When you’re not talking
Talking isn’t the only way to support someone or feel supported through a mental health crisis. Try texting to let them know you’re thinking of them and finding something you can do to spend time together. When someone is in the grips of depression they often worry they’ll never feel like themselves again; treating your friend or family member just the same as you always would can go a long way. If someone is really struggling, ask yourself whether there are any day-to-day tasks you could help with that would take some pressure off their shoulders.
Will you be having a conversation about mental health for Time to Talk Day?
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a health related question of your own - about your or your family's health, medication or upcoming procedures, for example - you can also access their, "Ask the Expert" service. Available around the clock, 365 days a year this free resource allows you to ask the team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives and pharmacists about any health concerns you may have - whenever you need them, 24 hours a day, every day. Please get in touch now.
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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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