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On 6th February 2020, we acknowledge Time to Talk Day (TTTD) - a campaign created by UK mental health charity Time to Change.
The aim of the campaign is to encourage more people to break the stigma that surrounds mental health and talk more openly about their emotional wellbeing.
Whether it be in your workplace, at home or at social events, Time to Change believe there are always opportunities for you to check in and ask about a person’s mental health. And with reports estimating that 1 in 6 people experience a mental health problem each week, it’s likely that someone close to you could be suffering in silence.
If you are concerned about a friend, colleague or family member’s mental health, you may not be sure on what you can do to help. You may be tempted to ignore the issue and hope they come to you for support, or you might be worried that by talking about the issue, you could make it worse.
However, talking to someone and acknowledging their issues is often the first step for people confronting their mental health problems.
If you are unsure on how to start that first conversation about mental health, here are a few tips:
Although you want to help as much you can, try not to make assumptions about the person’s issues and diagnose the problems yourself. This can only be done by a medical professional or trained counsellor.
How many times do you answer half-heartedly to the question “how are you?”. By asking the question twice, you will let the person know that you are truly interested in their mental health.
Let them lead the conversation and acknowledge what they are saying by nodding or repeating certain phrases to ensure you have understood it. You may not agree with everything they are saying, but it will show that you respect their feelings.
Talking face-to-face can be beneficial as you can read a persons body language or reassure them with physical contact such as a hug or holding their hand. However, some people may prefer to share their feelings via text, email or social media instead.
Despite your best efforts, some people may not be ready to talk about what they’re going through. You have to respect that and know that they will be more likely to ask for your help if they are struggling in the future.
Pledge wall: Get your workplace involved with TTTD by erecting a Time to Change pledge wall in a communal area. Here, your colleagues can write their own pledges - creating a wall of support for ending mental health stigma. This is a low-cost activity that can help start mental health conversations at work.
For more ideas and online resources, click here to access the TTTD 2020 page on the Time to Change website. Here, you can find multiple info packs and order forms to obtain your free promo materials.
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