The annual Time to Talk Day is run by MIND and Rethink Mental Illness 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.
At Jonathan’s Voice we continue to promote and advocate the need to keep talking about mental health and to empower individuals to speak up. Often one of the hardest things in talking about mental health is starting the conversation. How do you tackle this topic?
It is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to do this, but the tips below may help. It is a starter tool, SIGNSS developed by Thrive LDN web site The aim is to help support you through a series of clear stages to start, maintain and safely close a conversation about mental health. To this end the acronym is very helpful: –
Situation: Using a situation to find common ground
Initiate: Initiating a caring conversation, asking direct questions
Guide: Being a good listener, without judgement
Nudge: Prompting with positive encouragement and practical suggestions
Support and signposts: Sharing help and resources
To help underpin these stages there is a two page fact sheet that gives you some suggestions for what to ask/say under each of the five headings. These on first glance seem to be very obvious, but often we need to be reminded that sometimes the obvious is not always the case. I found the sheet very useful in reminding me of the importance of talking to family friends and work colleagues.
Jackie Scruton and Val McCartney