Jo, Wellbeing Practitioner and Time to Change Champion, talks about Cardiff University’s new Mental Health Campaign: What’s on your mind? #LetsShare, encouraging us all to share more when it comes to mental health…
Mental health problems are common. One in four of us will be affected at some point in our lives. So being able to talk about mental health is something that’s important for us all.
The fact that it’s sometimes difficult to talk about mental health problems can be one of the hardest parts of having a mental illness.
Whether its fear or awkwardness about talking to someone you know about their mental health problem – or talking about our own mental health problem – being unable to talk about mental health isn’t good for anyone.
A new Campaign for Cardiff
On 1 February (National Time to Talk Day), Cardiff University launched a new Mental Health Campaign for students and staff: What’s on your mind? #LetsShare.
The Campaign encourages us all to share more about our own mental health and to encourage other people to open up about their mental health, as a way to support ourselves, support others, and to help beat the stigma that still surrounds this area.
Speak about your own mental health
The fact that it’s sometimes difficult to talk about mental health problems can be one of the hardest parts of having a mental health difficulty; however, many people find that talking about mental health problems – to friends, family or to professional staff – is extremely helpful, as well as being one of the best ways to help to end mental health stigma.
Take up opportunities to talk about mental health openly and honestly, and don’t be surprised if your honesty encourages other people to talk about their own experiences!
Help others to speak about their mental health
People often avoid bringing up the subject of another person’s mental health due to fear, stigma, or worry about saying the ‘wrong thing’.
However, asking somebody directly about their mental health is one of the most helpful things you can do.
Take the lead; if you know somebody has been struggling (or even if they haven’t), don’t be afraid to ask how they are. Simply listening to what they say, without judgement, can be incredibly helpful.
Access support if you need it and encourage others to do the same
Seeking professional help is often the first step towards getting and staying well; however it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start or who to turn to.
It’s common to feel unsure, and to wonder whether you should try to handle things on your own.
But it’s always okay to ask for help – even if you’re not sure you are experiencing a specific mental health problem.
Your doctor can also offer advice, support and treatment (including Emergency Appointments) for mental health, and visiting your GP is also a great first step.
Recognise that the language we use is important
It’s really common for words or phrases relating to mental health to be used in everyday language, for example: ‘last week was bonkers’, or ‘I’ve had a mental day’.
It is also common to use words or phrases relating to mental health when this isn’t really what we mean, for example saying ‘I’m so depressed’, when we really mean ‘I’m having a bad day’.
Although this is commonplace, using jokes, words or phrases relating to mental health about yourself or about somebody else inappropriately – i.e. when you / the other person does not have a mental health condition – can minimise the very real experiences of people who live with mental health difficulties.
Inappropriate remarks or jokes can also feed mental health stigma, and the common stereotypes, myths and misunderstandings which surround various mental health conditions.
Everyone slips up sometimes and says things without thinking, but the important thing is to learn from our mistakes and to challenge ourselves to say what we mean, and to be mindful of the language we use about mental health.
Expect that small things can make a big difference
Sometimes it’s the small things in life that mean the most to us or create the biggest difference: the ‘Little Big things’.
Simple, everyday gestures of support such as: keeping in touch, stopping for a chat, making a meal, inviting somebody to join you for an activity or sending a message, can make an enormous difference to somebody experiencing a mental health problem. And you don’t need to be a mental health expert to do them!
There are also ‘Little Big things’ we can do to self-care and support our own wellbeing, such as having an early night, keeping active, eating a healthy meal, turning off your phone for a few hours, spending time on a hobby and staying connected with friends and family.
Consider a small thing you could do today, to help somebody who is struggling with their mental health or to self-care.
Help end mental health stigma and discrimination
The #LetsShare Campaign has been developed in collaboration with Time to Change, a growing movement of people, working to change how we all think and act about mental health.
The Time to Change Pledge, signed by Cardiff University in 2014, and re-signed on 1 February 2018, is a public declaration that an organisation wishes to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination.
Find out more about #LetsShare, and how you can get involved in the University’s Time to Change work.
You have the power to change behaviours and attitudes.
Together, we can create a community which is free from mental health stigma, fear and discrimination.
What’s on Your Mind? Let’s Share more about mental health
Watch our #LetsShare video, featuring Cardiff University students and staff, who have been brave enough to speak about their own personal experiences of mental health, in support of the Campaign.
Students have also shared their experiences in a series of blogs:
If you are experiencing mental health problems or need urgent support, there are lots of places you can go to for help.
Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service
The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service can offer support to anybody experiencing any sort of difficulty.
One-to-one therapy appointments are available to request via an Online Self-Referral Form, which can be found on the Our Appointments Page of the Student Intranet.
A daily Wellbeing Walk-In Service (15:00-15:45: Monday–Friday and Wednesday mornings: 9:30-10:15 at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place) is also available.
Wellbeing Workshops offer information, support and self-help resources on a variety of mental health difficulties, and several therapeutic Courses and Groups are also available, offering a safe and confidential space to explore issues and develop new skills over the course of several weeks.
Mental Health Advisers
If you have a long-term* mental health condition, the Mental Health Advisers can support you to manage the impact of this on your functioning at University and can offer a range of practical support options based on your individual needs and situation.
*has lasted or is likely to last over 12 months, or is a long-term fluctuating condition.
Your local doctor (GP) is one of the first places to consider going when you are unwell. Your doctor is there to help you with your mental health as well as your physical health.
Your doctor could:
- make a diagnosis
- offer you support and treatments
- refer you to a mental health specialist if appropriate
- recommend local support options.
If you do not already have a GP, please contact NHS Wales on 08454647 or check out their website to view all of your GP options. The University also has its own GP Practice: Park Place Surgery for those in their catchment area.
Provides confidential, non-judgmental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide. You can phone, email, write a letter or speak to somebody face-to-face at the Cardiff Branch.
- Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day)
- Email email@example.com
- Website samaritans.org
- Cardiff Branch https://www.samaritans.org/branches/cardiff-district-samaritans
Nightline is a confidential student-led phone service, providing information and a listening ear, run by students for other students:
- 20:00 – 08:00, daily during term-time
- Tel: 029 2087 0555
C.A.L.L. (Community Advice and Listening Line): offers emotional support and information/literature on Mental Health and related matters to the people of Wales. Anyone concerned about their own mental health or that of a relative or friend can access the service, via call or text, any time.
- Tel: 0800 132737 (24 hours a day)
- Text: 81066 (24 hours a day)
How to get Urgent Help
GP / A&E
You should make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Outside of a booked appointment, you can also contact your GP immediately and at any point if you feel at risk of acting on suicidal thoughts or feel unable to keep yourself safe
Your GP will be able to offer an Emergency Appointment that same day.
If this is outside of Surgery Opening Hours, an Out of Hours GP will be available on the usual GP Surgery telephone number / website.
If an Out of Hours GP is not available for any reason, you can:
- Go to any hospital’s A&E (Accident & Emergency) Department and tell them that you are at risk to yourself.
If you don’t feel able to do this, you can:
- Call 999 and ask for an ambulance to take you to A&E
- Ask someone else to contact 999 for you or take you to A&E immediately
You will be offered assessment and support from a 24-hour Mental Health Team
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.