2nd February 2023 is Time to Talk Day – the nation’s biggest mental health conversation, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Too often, mental health problems are treated as a taboo subject – something not to be talked about, especially at work. Mental health conversations have the power to change lives, helping to create supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we need it.
At FRG our mission is to create an employee culture based on inclusion and happiness. Talking about mental health should be part of our day to day interactions and it is important we discuss mental health the same way we discuss physical health.
If someone does open up about their mental health, we know it might not always feel easy to know what to say. But it doesn’t have to be awkward, and being there for someone can make a big difference. There is no right way to talk about mental health; however, these talking tips from Time to Talk can help make sure you’re approaching it 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 will help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgemental, like “how does that affect you?” and “what does it feel like?”
Think about Time and Place
Sometimes it is easier to talk side by side rather than face to face. So if you do talk in person, you might want to chat while you are doing something else. You could start a conversation when you’re walking, cooking or stuck in traffic. However, 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 hard time but try and 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 jounrey, and 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. And that means when a friend or loved one opens up about mental health, they don’t want to be treated any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you’d normally do.
No matter how hard you try, some people might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through. That’s ok – the fact that you’ve tried to talk to them about it may make it easier for them to open up another time.
Find out more about how you can make space in your day for a conversation about mental health at timetotalkday.co.uk