How many of us really take the time to talk about our mental health?

By Kim Davies, Corporate Health and Wellbeing Manager, Rossborough Healthcare

4th February is Time to Talk day, a global awareness day launched in 2014 to help break the stigma around mental health. Although we have come a long way since then, there is still a way to go to ensure that talking about our mental health is commonplace and that everyone feels comfortable both talking about their own mental health but also to reach out and support others.

We often have conversations with our colleagues, friends and family about how our latest diets are going or how yesterday’s 5km run felt or, indeed, if they’ve managed to shake the cold that they had last week. We all have everyday conversations about physical health and yet we don’t regularly have the same conversations about our mental health. 

It is vitally important that we start changing our perception of mental health and think of it in the same way as we do physical health.  Over the course of a year we’re likely to have a cold, maybe a stomach upset and almost certainly a few days when we feel a bit tired.  We expect this to be the case and don’t think twice about it being out of the norm – we need to start recognising that mental health is no different.  We will all experience ups and downs and we should be talking about it in the same way we talk about our physical health.

Time to Talk day is an opportunity for us and employers to start thinking differently about our mental health and the mental health of those around us, making it something that we regularly talk about.  For example, you could arrange a coffee (virtual or otherwise) with a colleague you don’t normally talk to or a friend you’ve not spoken to for a while. If you’re an employer or a manager you should be checking in with your team about non-work topics, just a ‘How are you?, How are things going with home schooling?’  Tell them how you are getting on with those things too, share your struggles. It’s only by doing this that we will continue to break down stereotypes and take the stigma out of something which will likely affect us all.

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