The annual Time to Talk Day is run by MIND and Rethink Mental Illness in England in partnership with the Co-op and aims to promote the idea that conversations have the power to change lives. It is important that we can develop a culture whereby we can all talk openly about mental health. The concept of empowering people to talk and aiming to remove the stigma associated with mental ill health has been a guiding principle here at Jonathan’s Voice and the reason for supporting this initiative.
The focus of the day is to encourage conversations about our mental well-being. However, it is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to do this, but these tips may help:
- Don’t wait for the perfect moment: rehearsing a conversation is probably not helpful and it is important that the conversation happens at a time and in a place that feels natural. Remember sometimes it is easier to talk about how we feel when we are doing something else e.g. driving walking, running or having a cup of coffee
- Ask questions: and you may have to ask twice, as often people say they are fine when they are not. It is also important to ensure you listen to the answers
- Talk about yourself: talking about how you feel can help create an atmosphere where people feel safe to discuss their feelings. This may also help them to recognise you will not be judgemental.
- Approach the elephant in the room: Too often we are tempted to skirt the issue if we know someone has had time of work. You can raise the issue gently by asking things like “How are you now?” or “You seem a bit quiet, how are things?”
- It doesn’t have to be face to face: some people may find receiving a text or an email easier
What might you or your organization do to mark Time to Talk Day and encourage conversations? MIND have a lot of very useful ideas and resources .