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Nearly two thirds of people in Cumbria feel they have no one to talk to about personal problems such as mental health

[N]ew figures, released on Time to Talk Day (1 February), reveal nearly two thirds (65%) of people in Cumbria feel they have no one to talk to when it comes to personal conversations on topics such as mental health, money problems and relationships. When asked why, the top reasons were: never being able to find the right time, or the right place.

Time to Change commissioned the independent survey of over 2,500 UK adults to mark Time to Talk Day, a nation-wide push to get people talking more openly about mental health. The data reveals that many people are missing out on support from those around them, simply because they cannot find the ‘perfect’ time and place to open up.This year marks the fifth Time to Talk Day and the theme is Right time, Any Place providing everyone with the perfect chance to be more open about mental health – whatever they are doing on the day.

Schools, workplaces, community groups across the region will be running activities to mark the day; Caroline Robinson coordinates the campaign in Cumbria: “We’re excited to see a growing number of people throughout Cumbria understanding the importance of open and honest conversations around mental health in their day to day lives. Events to mark Time to Talk Day are popping up in all corners of our county including Barrow Library, Westmorland Shopping Centre in Kendal, Moorclose Community Centre near Workington as well as a Pop up Living Room, Café and Cinema in Carlisle City Centre.

Talking about mental health really does save lives; it enables people to get the support they deserve and to live a life free of the stigma that still surrounds mental health problems.”

Millions of conversations are expected to take place across the country this Time to Talk Day. Over 2,500 workplaces will be hosting their own activities including Unilever, PG tips and Virgin Trains. In addition 1,300 people in the community– such as lollipop people, mountain rescue groups, gardeners, runners and librarians and 800 schools will take part.

Time to Talk Day was established by Time to Change, the campaign to change how we all think and act about mental health problems, led by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. The day was created in recognition of the fact that people talking and sharing their experiences changes the attitudes of those around them. This year will be the first time the event is truly national as Time to Change partners with See Me Scotland, Change Your Mind and Time to Change Wales to cover the whole of the UK.

Katie Conibear has bipolar disorder and worried about finding the right time and place to speak to her boyfriend about her experience of hearing voices. “I could never find the right time to tell anyone because I thought I might spoil the moment and bring people down. I eventually told my boyfriend over dinner. The whole time I’d been cooking I was playing the conversation out in my head and fearing the worst. When I eventually found the courage to speak up, he was supportive and understanding. This gave me the courage to tell family and friends.”

Carl Anka experiences depression and finds the time and place to speak to his friends about mental health through gaming. “I find it interesting that people speak about the importance of talking one to one, or on the phone. I find it much easier to speak via text, or email – or when I’m playing a game. I’m part of a group of guys who play the game Overboard – we dub it Broverboard. Our group chat started off with the usual but then one day moved on to mental health and speaking about what’s really going on in our lives. There’s something about being distracted that helps you to be more open. Another friend bought me a copy of FIFA, just so that we could log on together and chat – it’s two thirds about the game and one third – are you sleeping ok? How are you feeling at the moment?”

Sue Baker OBE, Director of Time to Change, said: “Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated and ashamed. People still think there is no right time or place to talk about mental health – that it’s something that should be whispered about in quiet corners. “This has to stop. Conversations have the power to change lives, wherever they take place. So whether you’re at home, at work, in the cinema, or even on the top of a mountain, Time to Talk Day is the perfect chance to be more open about mental health.”

Join in the conversation online using the hashtag #timetotalk

For information and to get involved in Time to Talk Day visit: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day-2018

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