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Time to Talk Day 2024

Mon 15 Jan 2024

Time to Talk Day is on 1 February. It’s run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with the Co-op. For more details click here.

The day is about creating supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health. We all have mental health. By talking about it, we can support ourselves and others.

The more conversations we have about mental health the more barriers we can break down and the closer we’ll come to ending mental health stigma and discrimination.

Mental health problems affect one in four of us, yet many people can feel isolated, ashamed, and worthless because of this. 

Time to Talk Day encourages everyone to be more open about mental health, to talk, to listen, to improve lives. Every conversation brings us a step closer to ending the feelings that too many of us experience.  Poor mental health can affect anyone, of any age, gender, or background.

Starting a conversation with someone around their or your own mental health can feel uncomfortable. You may be worried that you will say the wrong thing but remember saying nothing is far worse. You may have concerns about how others are coping with the current situation.

Here are some tips on helping others:

  • Ask others how they are feeling.
  • Ask someone twice how they are feeling, this will give them the opportunity to be honest and to realise that you genuinely want to know.
  • Listen and don’t judge, it’s great that people are happy to talk to you about how they are feeling, so ensure you really listen to them.
  • Ask how long they have felt this way.
  • Ask if there is anything you can do to help.
  • Ask what support they need. Provide them with details of professional organisations, who may be able to help.
  • Treat them in the same way, don’t change the way you act towards someone once you are aware of their poor mental health.
  • Little gestures can have a big impact, this maybe just going for a walk, watching a film, or just having a cuppa together.

The emotional wellbeing of children and young people is just as important as their physical health, just as it is for adults. Good mental health will allow them to develop the resilience to cope with life’s ups and downs and to grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.

Like adults, children will respond to situations in different ways, such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawn, or angry. Try to respond to your child’s reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra care and attention. Remember to listen to your children and re-assure them.

For more details on supporting your children’s mental health click here.

Time to Talk Day isn’t just about helping others, it’s also about thinking about your own wellbeing

According to the Police Federation, research has shown that emergency services workers are twice as likely as the public to identify problems at work as the main cause of their mental health problems, but they are also significantly less likely to seek help. So, during the pandemic it’s even more important to look after your own mental health when working on the frontline.

Here are some tips:

  • Think about your purpose: be clear about why you are doing this job.
  • Be clear on expectations: make sure you know what is expected of you and whether it is realistic.
  • Keep your boundaries: establish clear boundaries between work and personal life, don’t take work home with you.
  • Talk to colleagues: make time to talk to your colleagues about your experiences and share fears and concerns.
  • Value your own family and relationships: while work is important, your family and relationships need to be valued.
  • Keep active: regular exercise can boost your self-esteem, can help you concentrate, relax, and increase your overall wellbeing. This can be as simple as a regular walk, being outside in nature can also help improve your mental health.
  • Get plenty of sleep: sleep helps regulate the chemicals in our brain that transmit information. These chemicals are important in managing our moods and emotions and an imbalance in those chemicals can result in us becoming depressed or anxious. Read our sleep guide here.
  • Eat well: A balanced diet that is good for your physical wellbeing is also good for your mental wellbeing. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well.
  • Avoid alcohol: The numbing effects of drinking are only temporary and can often lead to mental health issues. Alcohol can also damage the immune system. Try to adopt positive
  • coping strategies such as talking, going for a walk, or listening to music instead. If you do drink, try to stay within the recommended unit guidelines.
  • Keep in touch: it’s good for you to catch up with friends and family.
  • Take a break: a change of scenery or pace is good for you. Make sure you take time to relax and re-charge.
  • Do something you’re good at: doing something you enjoy, and you are good at can give you the ‘feel good’ boost that everyone needs. Enjoying yourself can help beat stress.
  • Care for others: supporting others uplifts you as well as them.
  • Ask for help: sometimes you need help from others, so don’t be afraid to ask for help, from a family member or friend, your GP, or a professional organisation, see the list at the end of this guide for more details.

Mental health conversations have the power to make a big difference, but sometimes these conversations can bring up some difficult things that people may not have spoken about before. This might mean that they need some support.

It’s important to seek professional advice as soon as possible and not wait until it’s more difficult to find a solution.

If you feel a loved one, colleague or you need additional support, contact a GP, a counselling professional or one of the organisations below:

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Type of article: Articles
Category: Wellbeing

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