What is it?
Time to Talk Day is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness in England, in partnership with Co-op. The campaign runs UK wide, with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and See Me in Scotland, Inspire and Change Your Mind in Northern Ireland and Time to Change Wales.
The day is all about creating supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health. We all have mental health, by talking about it we can support ourselves and others.
How to take part
Use this day as a reason to reach out to somebody. It could be somebody you are concerned about, somebody you’ve drifted apart from, or maybe somebody that you feel you don’t know as well as you’d like to. A friend, a family member, a colleague, maybe even your own partner. A conversation can be held anywhere, and at any time. Over a meal, a drink, on a walk, while playing a game, in person, or over the phone etc. Whatever helps you feel comfortable. Conversations don’t have to be one on one, they can be just as productive in small groups.
How to start a conversation
Starting a conversation can feel intimidating. Especially if you’re talking to somebody you have a strained relationship with, somebody you don’t feel particularly close to, or somebody you are worried about. Often when we are worried about someone, we ask “how are you?” they say “fine”, and we move on. It could be that they are. However, it could just be a way of avoiding a conversation, which the person is finding hard to start. You may have seen the phrase “ask twice” and this is important but may still result in “fine”. If you find yourself at a loss for words, here are some questions you can use to stimulate a conversation, and hopefully learn something new about the person you’re engaging with. These can be re worded, and amended in any way you see fit, there purpose is just to act as a guide.
- Who is the most influential person in you have ever met?
- What was the last thing that made you laugh uncontrollably?
- What hobby or activity usually clears your mind and distracts you?
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?
- What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
- What would be your perfect day?
Once you start talking, you’ll find it flows easier and easier. Allow the conversation to flow naturally if, and when it is doing so.
Depending on the nature of the conversation, you may want to bookend it by checking on the other person/people, or taking some time to check in on yourself afterwards.
Our friends at Talkclub.org. use “how are you out of 10?”
This is a great way to get a more honest representation of somebody’s state of mind, as we find that people are more likely to answer with a number. It is also a good tool to use to check in with yourself which you can do daily to monitor how you are feeling. If it is a low number, take a moment to think about why, then ask what can be done to improve it even by just one point, say from a 5 to a 6. What would it take? What’s needed? Think about the number chosen, and consider the following:
- What are you grateful for today?
- What is one thing that is going well?
- What can you do to increase your mental fitness today?
Once you start this with people around you, they will often randomly let you know their score. Try it!
A problem shared…
Talking really does help. A problem shared really is a problem halved. You never know how one conversation can change a life. You may learn something profound about yourself, or discover parts about somebody close to you, that you never knew existed. Listening to somebody tell their story can help them feel valued and shows that you care about them. So take today as the perfect excuse to have a real conversation. Listen, ask, learn, and try to be grateful for the time you have, and the connections you make. Often times people aren’t looking to you for “solutions”, they just want to be heard, and to clear their chest without judgement. As the old expression goes. “Give people their flowers, while they can smell them”. Let them know you care, now, while they can appreciate it.
If you need more support please follow the links below. The first is a link to our Hector’s Gentle-Mans Club this a newly formed, informal network which we use to host events and get anybody who identifies as male out the house, engaged in an activity and conversation. The other links can be very useful in taking the first steps to help yourself , or somebody else.