Time to Talk Day, which takes place on Thursday 3rd February, is a day that friends, families, and workplaces come together to talk and listen to each other.

The day is all about encouraging conversations about mental health, creating supportive communities and reducing the stigma for those looking for support. 

It's important that we all look after our mental health as anyone could experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives. By talking about mental health we can support those around us, find ways to look after our mental health and create a culture of open conversations. 

Two of our volunteers from the ‘Support in Mind Scotland for Students’ project have shared with us why speaking about mental health is important to them, along with some suggestions on how to get talking.

Why we support Time to Talk Day: 

Hannah said:

"I support Time to Talk Day as my experience with mental health has been impacted by perceptions of stigma and a lack of information surrounding available support. My first experience is rooted within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the UK and started when I was in primary school.

I struggled with anxiety, depression, and frequent panic attacks. Going to school while going through counselling and therapy was a difficult and draining time but was ultimately rewarding. I am very grateful for the conversations and support I had along the way, and I hope that others find these connections too as they were very important for me during this time.

Going to university and talking so openly about mental health and my experiences made me realise how many of my friends and peers had similar experiences. There is a gap in care for those 18-24 and starting conversations about mental health made me realise how prevalent this is.

Opening up communication surrounding what support is available for yourself and those around you is essential in creating a safe and supportive environment. Whatever time, topic or format works for you is the best way. Be patient with yourself and take time to try and understand where or who you feel safest with.

The initial step in asking for help or information can be difficult, but everyone deserves the space to speak and be heard. Starting conversations can be as big or as small as you feel. It can be chatting about a TV show, or listening to music, or going for a walk. Creating an opportunity to feel seen or heard for yourself or someone else is a great way to get involved this Time to Talk Day."

 

Renite said:

"I support Time to Talk Day because of personal experiences suffering with grief and poor mental health myself, due to losing my big brother to mental health and substance use disorder. I wholeheartedly believe that stigma and a lack of genuine conversations about mental health poorly impacted my brother’s experience with his own mental health. Since losing him, I have tried to use my voice to speak out about mental health as much as possible.

During my grief, I suffered from night terrors, anxiety, and guilt. I was lucky to have the enduring support from friends and family. But I rejected any counselling because I wanted to sort it all out on my own. Only now, nearly four years later, have I identified that I need further support, and have reached out for therapy through my university’s student services. The most difficult step is the very first one, reaching out to let someone, either a friend, family member, colleague or therapist know, that you need help. That is the bravest, and healthiest thing that you can do. I can only hope that as the years go by, stigma surrounding speaking out and reaching out for help diminish.

Mental health affects everyone. Time to Talk Day is a brilliant time to engage in conversations that can destigmatise mental health and encourage people to reach out when they need it. While some may argue that mental health is now being spoken about much more frequently, which is true to some extent, the conversations must go deeper, and they must be enduring. Everyone has the right to feel comfortable reaching out when they need help. We cannot undo the stigma and stereotypes working against mental health without intertwining conversations about our mental health and wellbeing into our everyday lives

As someone who currently studies global mental health, has watched close family and friends struggle with their mental health, and has experienced poor mental health myself, I know that starting the conversation is the first step. Mental health can be difficult, confusing, and sometimes there will not be neat answers which fit our strife and pain. That is okay, this is even more reason to speak about it and to engage in active listening with our peers, colleagues, and families. We do not have to go through anything alone. Speaking about mental health can be as simple as checking in with the people around you, or as brave as reaching out for support when you need it. Support should always be available. Check in with your friends, reach out for support, and keep the conversation going."

 

 

Start the Conversation. Check In and Reach Out.

Two of our volunteers have put together a list of books that keep the conversation going

Books that Keep the Conversation Going:

Some of these books can be difficult reads due to subject content.

  1. The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin
  2. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
  3. Maybe I Don’t Belong Here: A Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery by David Harewood
  4. The Kindness Method: Changing Habits for Good by Shahroo Izadi
  5. What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
  6. Emotional First Aid Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries by Guy Winch

Additional Support

For Urgent Help:

If it is an emergency do not hesitate to call 999 for an ambulance or police help.

If you need someone to talk to, Samaritans helpline is 116 123 and is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Calls can be made anytime, from any phone. All calls are confidential.

The Breathing Space helpline is open 24h at week-ends (Friday 6pm - Monday 6am) - All calls are confidential - 0800 83 85 87

If you cannot wait for your GP's surgery to open call NHS 24 by dialling 111

You can also call the police, your emergency social work team or emergency community mental health team.

If you are concerned about your own wellbeing or about the vulnerability of someone you know you can contact your local social work department . Click on this link to access contact details of all Social Work departments in Scotland https://socialworkscotland.org/contact/ 

 

Support in Mind National Information Service:


We offer a National Information Service which can sign-post you to the local support that will most fit your needs.

Opening times

Our National Information Service is open Monday to Friday from 9am - 4.30pm.

Call

You can phone us then on 0300 323 1545 or, if you contact us outwith these times, please leave a brief message with your contact details and we will get back to during the above times.

Email

If you prefer, you can email us at [email protected] anytime with your query, or click the 'contact us' button and we will get back to you during the service’s open hours

Reach out on social media

You can contact us on Facebook messenger by going to www.m.me/suppinmindscot or by using the chat window on this page.