How can you make a difference this Time to Talk Day?
Thursday, February 2nd, 2017 | Blog
February 2nd marks Time to Talk Day, a day that encourages people to start a dialogue with those around them in the hope we can battle mental health illnesses. It can be a passing chat with a colleague at work, or maybe even having a conversation with the person sat opposite you on the train. The more we talk to one another, the more open we are to discussing sensitive issues.
Knowledge of mental health is something that has improved a lot in recent years and people are far more aware of the different illnesses it can manifest as. Those diagnosed with a mental health illness are treated more professionally and ethically than those diagnosed just short of a century ago. Regardless of the progress that has been made, there is still a stigma attached to mental health that can make discussing them hard for some individuals.
This isn’t an issue that can be fixed straight away but we’re going to list some of the ways you can help on Time to Talk Day, in the hope we can contribute to fighting the stigmas.
Don’t be afraid to start a conversation
One of the biggest challenges when talking about mental health is starting the conversation itself. There’s no easy way to address your concerns about someone, but there are certain situations that can make it less stressful. Why not invite someone for a nice walk in your local area, or maybe even ask them if they want to go for a coffee? While out maybe just ask how everything is and if there is anything they would like to talk about. It is a small gesture, but one that could help someone open up and confide in you.
It’s not just friends that need communication
It is a lot easier to talk to your friends, family members, than it is to talk to colleagues or acquaintances. If you’re at work and happen to see a colleague that is visibly upset, or an acquaintance looking a bit down, why not go over and talk to them That little bit of support might be the exact thing that they need in that moment.
Social Media isn’t as isolating as we think
There’s a lot of contention around about how isolating social media can be, but it can be an excellent tool for chatting to people you wouldn’t normally be able to physically see. Platforms like Facebook and Skype now let us video call people from anywhere in the world (providing you have an internet connection of course), so why not call that friend you’ve been meaning to speak to for a while - they might just need your support.
Mental health illnesses aren’t as rare as you think
The most important thing you can do is understand that mental health illnesses are more common than we think. 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems in any given year and 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health illness during their teenage years - that’s a lot of people. Worryingly, 9 out 10 people diagnosed with a mental health illness are the victim of discrimination. Discussing these kinds of figures will help educate people and hopefully remove some of the social stigmas around mental health illnesses
These steps might seem quite minor, but they could make a big difference to someone who may be struggling with their mental wellbeing. The sooner we start to talk about the stigma surrounding mental health, the sooner that stigma will be gone.