Collaborating organisations across the North East and North Cumbria are supporting Time to Talk Day (Thursday 6 February) and encouraging as many people as possible to choose to talk about mental health.
Time to Talk Day is organised by Time to Change, the campaign to change how we all think and act about mental health problems, led by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. Time to Talk Day aims to get as many people as possible talking about mental health.
Organisations in the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS), including NHS providers and commissioners, local authorities, and charities, are encouraging their staff and the public to get involved in the campaign.
John Lawlor, Chief Executive of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the ICS Mental Health programme, said: “The more conversations we have, the more myths we can bust and barriers we can break down – helping to end the isolation, worry and lowered self-esteem that too many of us feel when experiencing a mental health problem.”
“We hope that by encouraging our colleagues and partners to get involved we can play our part in helping to break down the stigma associated with mental illness.”
This year conversation is at the heart of the day, as the campaign is using the popular game ‘Would you rather?’ to encourage more people to talk.
By asking ‘Would you rather’ questions people will be able to start up a mental health conversation with strangers, neighbours, family, colleagues and friends. Games, social events and activities can be fantastic opportunities to start up a mental health conversation in a way that isn’t intimidating or awkward.
Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said: “Conversations have the power to change lives. Time to Talk Day is the one day of the year when we want the whole nation to have a mental health conversation.”
1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year, but many of us are too afraid to talk about it. Starting a conversation about mental health might seem daunting but simply sending a text, checking in on a friend or sharing something on social media can break the ice.
A ‘Developing Suicide Safer Communities’ event took place in Carlisle earlier this week, where over 100 attendees were encouraged to find ‘Time to Talk’ as part of a call to action by the North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network, part of the ICS. The Network is also promoting the free online suicide prevention training by the Zero Suicide Alliance www.zerosuicidealliance.com/training which can teach anyone how to have a conversation with someone about suicide in only 20 minutes.
People are also being encouraged to organise their own events, with free downloadable activity packs available from www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday. Suggestions range from a mental health-themed pub quiz, to coffee and craft mornings.