Time To Talk Day is a chance to take a breath and open up about the topic of mental health.
This year’s event is on Thursday, February 2.
Here’s everything you need to know about the day and the campaign that aims to shatter the silence and stigma surrounding mental illness.
What is Time To Talk Day?
Time To Talk Day is a day to discuss mental health problems and raise awareness.
It was set up four years ago (2013) in the belief that people talking and sharing their experiences can change others’ attitudes.
It is organised by Time to Change, a campaign led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
When is it?
Time To Talk Day takes place every year on the first Thursday in February.
Does this year’s have a theme?
Yes, it’s Conversations Change Lives and the campaign hopes to get people talking over 24 hours, round the clock.
Why should I care?
Mental health problems affect one in four people, yet many are reluctant to talk about them.
Thirty-eight per cent of people with mental health problems say they’ve been negatively treated as a result of stigma.
Of those who experienced discrimination, more than half lost contact with a loved one, nearly one in five lost their job, more than one in 10 couldn’t go through with an important life event such as a wedding or graduation, while more than half stopped socialising because of it.
The findings, announced by Time To Change today, were from a OnePoll survey of 2,000 people with mental health problems.
Overall, one in three said they’d feel more able to discuss mental health issues if people close to them were more open about their feelings and emotions.
How can I get involved?
Take that step and start a conversation about mental health with a trusted friend, family member, partner or colleague.
Send a text, an email, a tweet or a Facebook message, or chat to someone on your tea break.
You can log your conversation at the Time To Change website, which is being updated in real time to show how many people are taking part.
This is all very well but I’ve got no idea how to begin this kind of conversation
The Time To Change website has resources that can help – from a ‘conversation starter’ game to suggestions on different ways you can raise the topic.
Whether you decide to post something on social media, go for a walk and a chat with a friend, write a blog or encourage your boss to sign the Time To Change Employer Pledge (to reduce stigma in the workplace), it’s up to you.
How do you talk about mental health?
I only recently started talking to very close friends about my bipolar disorder.
The way I prefer to raise it is, firstly, to chose someone you’ve known a long time and who (you hope) won’t go running for the hills.
It’s easier to talk on a walk, side by side, than sitting across from one another as this feels less intimidating.
I think I’ve either just blurted out ‘I have bipolar disorder’ or said ‘there’s something I’d like to tell you…’
I’m not sure there is any particularly graceful or eloquent way to start talking about mental health – the main thing is that you just start.
If you’re anything like me you’ll have already imagined all the worst-case scenario outcomes of such conversations.
However, in every case I’ve been surprised by the fact people haven’t run away and have been supportive (although I realise that may not be the result for everyone).
I’ve also found it much easier to write about it than talk too – you may also find a letter, a blog or a post on social media less daunting.
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