Time to Talk Day
February 3, 2022 | by Rebecca Nathan
The day encourages us to create an open and safe space for our family, friends, in the workplace or community to talk, listen and support one another.
One in four people throughout their lifetime will struggle with their mental health. Therefore, there will be people around you, whether you are aware or not, that are struggling. So, what can we all do to support a person within close proximity? TALK.
Why is it important that we talk openly about mental health?
- It removes the stigma. Through providing opportunities, time, and space for someone to open up, you are encouraging those around you to do the same. This has a snowball effect whereby mental health conversations becomes normalised. Because let’s face it, checking in with a person about their mental health should be no different to checking in with someone about their physical health.
- It reminds you that you are not alone. When we allow our negative thoughts to fester, they can feel amplified, and you can feel extremely lonely. By speaking and listening to others with reference to their mental health you may realise that you are not alone in feeling this way.
- It can increase the likelihood that someone seeks out therapeutic support and treatment, which can help to decrease rates of suicide.
- Talking can be cathartic and is key to maintaining a sense of wellbeing. Sometimes simply voicing aloud how you really are can give rise to new perspectives and feelings towards those thoughts.
- It can help grow towards self-acceptance.
- Development of the support systems around you in addition to an opportunity to recognise that there can be help in surprising places and/or people not necessarily thought of initially.
So, how do we go about starting a conversation on mental health and wellbeing?
- Create a safe space for that conversation to take place. Somewhere more private where others cannot listen. Opening up and being honest about your struggles is difficult so it is important to make the environment as comfortable as possible for that person. Right time, right place!
- Ask that person simply and genuinely, “How are you?” “Are you okay?.”
- Actively listen; listen to hear not to respond. Being heard can sometimes be all that a person needs in that moment.
- Avoid offering any quick fixes.
- Listen with an open mind and an open heart, free of judgement.
- Be patient.