Time to Talk Day - 1st February 2024
So many people keep their poor mental health to themselves.
Ask how they are and they’ll say they’re fine. They may not want to burden others, feel embarrassed that they’re struggling to cope, or hope ignoring their issues will make them go away.
But bottling up our problems like this only increases the pressure inside us. Talking about what’s on our mind can make such a difference to our wellbeing.
February 1 is Time to Talk Day, the annual event billed as ‘the nation's biggest mental health conversation’. The idea is to get people and communities together to start talking about their state of mind. It’s a chance for all of us to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen and to change lives.
One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Talking more about these issues helps to create supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we need it.
In the run-up to and on the day, we encourage our supporters, community groups, workplaces and schools to have conversations about mental health.
How do we start a conversation?
It can be hard to know how to do this. Here are a few suggestions:
- Check in with a friend.
- Pop a Time to Talk Day poster on your community noticeboards.
- Host a coffee and chat in your community centre.
- Put some posters up in your school.
- Run a ‘lunch and learn’ information session in your office.
Resources are available for download HERE
I need advice on how to hold the conversation.
There's no right or wrong way to talk about mental health. But these tips can help make sure you’re approaching the conversation in a helpful way.
- Ask questions and listen: Asking questions can give the person space to express how they’re feeling and what they’re going through. And it can help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgmental. For example, “how does that affect you?” or “what does it feel like?”
- Think about the time and place: Sometimes it’s easier to talk side by side rather than face to face. If you do talk in person, you might want to chat while doing something else. You could start a conversation when you’re walking, cooking or stuck in traffic. But don’t let the search for the perfect place put you off!
- Don't try and fix it: It can be hard to see someone you care about having a difficult time. Try to resist the urge to offer quick fixes to what they’re going through. Learning to manage or recover from a mental health problem can be a long journey. They’ve likely already considered lots of different tools and strategies. Just talking can be really powerful, so unless they’ve asked for advice directly, it might be best just to listen.
- Treat them the same: When someone has a mental health problem, they’re still the same person as they were before. When a friend or loved one opens up about mental health, they don’t want you to treat them any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you’d normally do.
- Be patient: No matter how hard you try, some people might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through. That’s okay – the fact that you’ve tried to talk may make it easier for them to open up another time.
How can we spot signs that people are struggling?
We all use phrases that can mask what we really mean. This year Time to Talk Day is highlighting the issues that might lie behind everyday responses to the question ‘How are you?’. For example:
- ‘It’s all good!’ – sometimes means ‘I’m stressed and burned out’.
- ‘Yeah, getting by…’ – sometimes means ‘I worry about paying my bills’.
- ‘Not too bad.’ – sometimes means ‘I feel lost and alone’.
What will Norfolk and Waveney Mind do on the day?
Norfolk and Waveney Mind will mark the day by offering tea and cake at our REST hubs in Norwich, King’s Lynn, Thetford, Aylsham and Great Yarmouth, so you can come in for a chat about what’s on your mind.
We are also holding a Time to Talk day at the Forum in Norwich. From 10am–3pm Norfolk and Waveney Mind staff will be there for anyone who wants to talk, giving advice and offering activities aimed at getting mental health conversations started. Information about our services will also be available.
What if I need more than just a conversation?
Time to Talk Day is the ideal opportunity to ask for the help you need, even if it’s more than just a chat about your mental health. Norfolk and Waveney Mind runs a range of services that support people with a range of mental health needs. See our service directory for an overview of what we offer, take a look at our Community Support Group Page and find out more about our drop-in REST hubs.
How can I encourage people to get talking?
We have advice on how to start conversations in your community, in your workplace and among young people.
Carry on the conversation
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However you start your conversation, let us know on social media with #TimeToTalk and please tag us if you can.