It is #TimetoTalk day tomorrow.
‘Time to Talk’ day is held by the mental health movement ‘Time to Change‘, which aims to change how people think and act about mental health to reduce isolation, and feelings of shame or worthlessness.
‘Time to Talk’ day tackles the difficulty of being able to be open about mental health problems by supporting people to be able to take the time to talk and listen.
For someone with a mental health problem talking can be a complicated issue. There is wanting to be open and honest Vs the fears of being judged and treated differently. There is wanting to share your struggles and experiences Vs wanting to maintain privacy. There is wanting to raise awareness and reduce stigma Vs not knowing what, nor how much, to say.
Talking is important. Being able to talk if you want to is particularly important; but I have to highlight that it is OK for you to choose how you approach this. Some people are private, some people are open, and many are somewhere in-between. There is no right or wrong way to talk about mental illness. We all share different things with different people; some people find strangers easier to talk to, some people prefer to talk to a select few. Some people talk online to raise awareness, but do not talk about it in their day-to-day lives.
Talking to raise awareness is incredibly important, but this does not mean you have to talk about anything you do not want to. The point of this campaign is to help people, not pressure them. You might just want to raise general awareness, rather than divulge personal information. Finding how you want to use your experiences and voice is a journey that takes time.
The reality is though, that despite amazing improvements in public understanding of mental illness, there remains stigma attached to having a mental disorder. There can still be feelings of shame attached to struggling with something that is both extremely common, and also not the your fault.
The biggest thing we need everyone to understand is that nobody is immune from mental health problems. The chances of you knowing a friend, family member, or colleague with a mental health problem is high. One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Not having a mental health problem right now does not make you immune. Having a great career, great family, good income, or anything else does not make you immune neither. Just become someone “looks fine” does not mean they do not have a mental health problem.
Mental illness does not discriminate; it can affect everyone.
Sadly it often takes personal experiences to fully understand the impact and reality of life with a mental illness. It often takes having, or knowing someone with a mental illness, to make people take an interest – but mental illness should be something on everyone’s agenda.
“The way you act towards someone with a mental illness can change their life: by opening up to mental health you can make a real difference. ”
Time to Change
Mental illness is a disability, but with the right treatment, understanding, empathy and adjustments, it does not have to be disabling.
For ideas on how to get involved with #TimetoTalk visit the website here.
If you have not yet signed the ‘Time to Change’ pledge and joined the 96675 other peopple who have, do so now!