Although 2020 was a very strange year, it offered some silver-linings. One of these was an increase in the understanding of just how important our mental health is and the willingness to have more open conversations about the subject.
This is positive progress but there’s still a lot of work to be done. One in four individuals will be affected by an issue this year alone and it’s incredibly sad to hear that over a half of them will say the associated isolation and shame is worth than the condition itself. The social stigma attached to mental health and the discrimination experienced because of it can make the problem worse and recovery that much harder – but there are things we can all do to change this.
Time to Talk Day, an annual event hosted by growing social movement called Time to Change, gives everyone a chance to tackle this silence and shame. Having open conversations about how we’re feeling can help break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery, and take the stigma out of something which will affect each of us at some point during our lives. Nobody should have to fear being treated differently because of a mental health problem.
You can get involved by joining the virtual festival being held on YouTube, starting at 19:00 GMT this evening with a discussion about the power of talking and continuing tomorrow with a short series of webinars (see the schedule here). You can also check the Time to Change website for details on events taking place both online and around the UK, along with resources if you’re interested in planning your own activity.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do though is let people know you’re there to listen if they need someone to support them. There’s no right way to talk about mental health but these tips will guide you in approaching it in a helpful way. My channels are open to anyone who’d like to chat – whether you want to talk amore about this post or would just like to speak to somebody who isn’t going to judge. I can’t say I’ll know how to fix what you’re going through but I can certainly be there for you.
If you’re worried about someone in your life and haven’t heard from them in a while: please don’t hesitate in reaching to them. Send them a private message and ask how they’re doing so they know you’re thinking of them and have your support. We all need somebody to look out for us every once in a while and if your friend is going through a tough time, stepping in and showing them you care could mean more to them than you realise.
Together we’re stronger and can end mental health discrimination.