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Time To Talk Day

06 February 2020

Time To Talk Day

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Time to Talk Day is organised by Time to Change, the campaign to change how we all think and act about mental health problems. Time to Talk Day aims to get us more comfortable talking to each other about mental health.

Research published by the campaign indicates 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year, but many of us are too afraid to talk about it. It seems fear of negative reactions, stigma and discrimination are still barriers, even in 2020, which can prevent asking for social support and accessing life-changing professional help. 

On the upside, when we do interact with those around us in a more meaningful way, we start to discover how common mental health challenges can be in the population. This new-found awareness brings a tangible comfort to those who may be experiencing mental health concerns. It can be reassuring to know we are not alone in struggling to cope with mental health symptoms. We may also find by chatting with colleagues, neighbours and closer contacts that social interaction is good for both the talker and the listener. This is evidenced by research from bodies such as Campaign against Loneliness, which indicates the benefits to physical and mental health from feeling socially connected and the dangers to our wellbeing when we become socially isolated. 

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said: “Conversations have the power to change lives – helping to end the isolation, shame and worthlessness that too many of us feel when experiencing a mental health problem. Time to Talk Day is the one day of the year when we want the whole nation to have a mental health conversation.” 

In 2020, Time to Talk Day suggests reducing the initial tension around reaching out to people by trying out the “Would you rather...” game, as depicted recently on popular TV. An initial light-hearted question such as “Would you rather be meeting friends tonight or staying in reading a book?” could be the start of opening a deeper mental health conversation, if we give the time and concentration to really listen and ask why and how we can support.