Today (7 February) is Time to Talk Day: the day dedicated to having an open and honest conversation about mental health.
It’s estimated that one in four of us will be affected by mental health problems at some point in life. Despite this, there is still a stigma attached to mental health, meaning many are reluctant to talk openly about how they are feeling.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed in life: with school work, homework, a social life, chores, hobbies, friends and family to fit in, it’s no wonder some of us need to take time to let out our feelings.
It can be difficult to know how to start a conversation about mental health, but the charity behind Time to Talk Day, Time to Change, has some tips:
- Ask questions and listen – you might want to let your own feelings off your chest, which you should do. But make sure you’re asking your friend about how they’re feeling, and really listen to them, so you can offer the best advice.
- Think about time and place – make use of ‘dead’ time, for example when you’re walking, driving or cooking, which can ease the atmosphere and make everyone more comfortable.
- Don’t try to fix it – it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to fix their problems, just make sure they know they can talk openly with you about how they’re feeling, anytime.
- Treat them the same – they’re the same person they were before. Support them by treating them no differently than you would normally.
- Be patient – It can take time, but it’s a conversation worth having, a conversation that could even be lifesaving.
Conversations about mental health have the power to change lives.
On #TimeToTalkDay, here are some powerful examples of struggling sportsmen and women talking about their troubles#TimeToTalk 1/@ASFCofficial striker Billy Kee on his his severe anxiety and depression. pic.twitter.com/UHpHJh2rF4
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 7, 2019
GRAB A CUPPA
So, this Time to Talk Day, why not grab a pal or parent, sit down with a cup of tea (or even an Irn-Bru if that’s more your style) and have an honest conversation about how you’re feeling.
Let all your worries and stresses out, and let the other person do the same, free of judgement. Bottling up emotions doesn’t help anyone, so make sure to reach out and ask for help if you need it. And make sure to check in on your friends and family too: you never know who might need it.