Today is #TimetoTalkDay 2018, which is part of the #TimeToChange initiative. We are all being urged to talk more openly – and without fear – about mental health. According to Time to Change, it’s about breaking down stereotypes, improving relationships, supporting recovery, and reducing stigma.
Here are some tips from Time to Change for starting a dialogue about mental health:
- It’s often helpful to ‘start small’. You could text a friend, or call a parent. It is about helping people to feel that they are not alone.
- It can be easier to talk while you’re busy doing things – as you may have noticed yourself, we tend to open up while talking in the car together, or cooking, or taking a walk.
- Some open questions can work well – ‘how are things today?’ Remember not to get too personal, and look out for any signs that someone is feeling uncomfortable with the line of the conversation. Start off with everyday things.
- Consider being open about yourself. The person you are with may then find it easier to respond in kind.
- And finally, if they are struggling with their mental health, treat them as you would anyone else who is in difficulty. Offer some simple support. You don’t have to fix their problems. Being there to listen can be very important.
If more help is needed, there are also professional support options. You, or your colleagues, might want to contact Care First, the University’s Employee Assistance Programme. You will find full details on the staff intranet. Their number is 0800 174319, and it is free to call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They offer a range of services, including crisis support, counselling, management support, and information services.
For details of some short sessions for managers on how to have a conversation with someone about their mental health, and help them to access support, take a look at the programme for Staff Speak Week
How can you get involved in Time to Talk today? Why not take a walk with a colleague, and use the chance to talk?