Time to Talk was set up to help more people open up about mental health and erase the stigma that still sits with the subject. The campaigners behind the social movement, Time to Change, work with communities, schools and businesses to bring more awareness and advice on how to support friends and colleagues.
On Thursday 7th February, many people took time out of their day to host an event or just enjoy the company of a loved one to talk about mental health.
1 in 4 people are affected by mental health problems every year. Although the topic has become less of a taboo subject in recent years due to the campaigns by Mind, Heads Together promoted by Their Royal Highnesses, and celebrities discussing their personal stories, many people are still afraid to talk about it.
Time to Talk aims to break down the stereotypes of mental health, improve relationships and aid recovery. You don’t have to be an expert to talk and take part. A Time to Talk event can take place at any time and could be a coffee morning for the local community, inviting family members to your home or just a sit down between two friends over a cup of tea.
The Time to Talk event has already reached millions of people and started to improve attitudes and behaviours towards mental health. 60% of people living with a mental health problem wait over 1 year before they tell people who are close to them. Many people still don’t consider mental health problems to relevant to them and don’t think they or a loved one will be affected.
This lack of understanding has led to stigma and discrimination for those who do live with mental health issues; 90% have said they have experienced stigma. Most people with mental health problems have been misunderstood by their family members, shunned or ignored by friends, work colleagues and health professionals, and have been called names and much worse by neighbours. This type of discrimination prevents people from seeking the help they need. It isolates people, as they start to lose contact with loved ones, be refused work, have their illness dismissed or minimised, or be over-protected.
“No one should have to fear of being treated differently because of mental health problems” – Time to Talk
“My friend has opened up about their mental health – how can I support them?”
There are 5 steps provided by Time to Change for you can take to support a loved one, friend or colleague if they open up to you about their mental health:
- Take it seriously – remember it takes a lot of courage for someone to open up about a personal issue. In some situations, it can be instinctive to make light of a situation and have a joke, but this isn’t the right time.
- Listen and reflect – take on board what they are saying and be reflective by saying “that sounds really difficult”. Thank them for telling you and reassure them you are there if they need to talk again in the future.
- Ask questions – help keep the conversation going by asking questions like “what does it feel like?”, “how can I help?” and “What kind of thoughts are you having?”
- Don’t try and fix it – remember, it’s not your job to make someone’s mental health problems go away. Supporting them through conversation is sometimes all that is needed. In some circumstances, mental health problems cannot be cured, but rather managed and controlled. You can also help a friend by supporting them in finding a healthcare professional who can help.
- Build your knowledge – learning more about different mental health problems can help you understand what someone is going through. Time to Talk, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness can all provide further information, including personal stories from people who have been in similar situations.
We should all take time to sit with our family, friends and colleagues and talk about mental health, whether it’s about our own personal experiences or learning more about what people go through.
You can also find out more mental health and how you can support loved ones by visiting the websites below:
At Heritage Healthcare, we support our clients with bespoke care packages tailored to their needs and wishes. Our care team are on hand to be a trusted friend, so our clients know they have someone to talk to about any issues they are facing. We work closely with clients, family members and other healthcare professionals to adapt care plans where needed and help our clients to continue living independently and comfortable in their own home.