Mental health issues affect one in four of us, and yet mental ill-health – and talking about it – can still carry a stigma.

Time to Talk Day 2020, on Thursday 6 February, aims to challenge that mindset by encouraging everyone to make time to talk to colleagues, friends or family about what might be bothering them.

Using the ice-breaker game “Would you rather…”, the charity Time to Change asks us whether we would rather:

  • Miss a penalty – or talk to a team-mate about their mental health?
  • Be stuck in a spider’s web – or talk to a friend who feels trapped in their thoughts?
  • Kiss a jellyfish – or talk to a colleague who feels all at sea?

And remember the Time to Change “ask twice” advice. The first time you ask a mate if they are OK, they may say yes; but take time to ask again: “Are you really OK?” and the answer may be different.

Try starting up a chat over a coffee or lunch, while having a walk, while driving in the car. Maybe stage a coffee morning, start talking as you get together over a creative task, or perhaps set up a pledge wall at work where people can promise to change their attitude to issues around mental ill-health.

Time to Talk Day offers a chance for all of us to talk about mental health, to listen, to change lives, and helps to show that having the conversation doesn’t have to be awkward. Please make Time to Talk on 6 February. 

For more information on Time to Talk Day, and ideas and practical suggestions of how to start a conversation, as well printable resources to use in the workplace or your community, visit the Time to Change website

Feeling low yourself?

If you are struggling to cope with your thoughts or feelings, remember – there is help available. Start by talking to your line manager or a colleague, or a friend or family member. Or you can:

Talk to your GP or call NHS 111

Refer yourself to a local talking therapies service – in Derbyshire these are Insight Healthcare (0300 555 5582), Talking Mental Health Derbyshire (0300 123 0542) and Trent Psychological Therapies Service (01332 265 659)

Call a helpline like Samaritans (116 123), CALM (for men – 0800 585858) or Hopeline (for under 35s – 08000 684141).