Time to Talk Day 2023
Today is Time to Talk Day, the biggest national mental health conversation. Run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, it encourages us to talk about mental health, because even the smallest conversation has the power to change lives.
Talking is one of the best things we can do to support each other and empower ourselves to heal and seek help.
How can you participate?
The most important thing is to make space for a conversation. You could organise an afternoon tea party event at work or arrange a drop-in counselling session for your employees. Check your local community events for things such as youth centre activities to sign your company up for – not only does it let you give back to the local community, younger generations are much more open when it comes to talking about mental health, and we should try to learn from them if we can. If you believe your employees may benefit from it, consider making Time to Talk Day a regular event in your company calendar.
Take it to social media!
Another thing you can do to promote this day is sharing with your clients and followers on social media. We know sometimes speaking about mental health can seem inappropriate or intimidating, but it is necessary to push past these boundaries to reduce the stigma and improve our wellbeing. Talk about an experience, or something that could help someone feel better on a bad day. If you’re struggling to think of something, you can use a prompt from the Time to Talk Day’s official website, such as:
‘It’s Time to Talk Day on Thursday 2 February 2023: a chance for all of us to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives. #TimetoTalk’
‘Half of every conversation is listening: let someone know they’re being heard this #TimetoTalk Day.’
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #TimetoTalk to make sure it reaches a wider audience and helps us promote this day!
So, you started a conversation, what now?
There is no one correct way to talk about mental health. Everyone will have different boundaries and limits beyond which they don’t feel comfortable sharing. Everyone will be going through different things and processing their feelings in any number of ways. The biggest thing you can do to support someone is to listen without judgement and show them you’re there to talk, to help, or even just sit with them in silence – even that can help more than you think. Training courses, such as Mental Health First Aid England, can help you better understand how to talk to and support someone struggling with their mental health.
Here are a few more tips to help managers and employers:
- Ask questions and listen – make sure the questions are relevant and non-judgemental.
- Think about the time and the place – if someone wants to share something private, talking in the middle of the cafeteria might not be the best choice.
- Don’t try to solve their problems – as counterintuitive as that sounds, when someone is sharing their troubles, suggesting solutions might not be the best way forward, especially if the person did not ask for advice. Instead, try to understand their feelings – saying things like ‘that must have been hard’ or ‘it sounds like you went through something really tough, I’m sorry’ can help the person feel heard and validated.
- Treat them the same – mental health issues can be complicated, and it’s often hard to feel like yourself. Don’t forget the person is exactly the same, do the things you would normally do, no need to overcomplicate it. Even the feeling of normality itself can be greatly encouraging and helpful!
- Be patient. There is no need to rush things. If someone is uncomfortable opening up, don’t try to press them. Just the fact that you reminded them you’re there to listen will help them feel more relaxed and will encourage them to talk in the future.
If you need to talk, or need help supporting your employees, don’t hesitate to contact us! For additional information, visit the Time to Talk Day website.