You can talk about mental health

1 in 4 people will experience challenges with their mental health this year, yet talking about mental health can still be considered ‘taboo’. Too many people feel isolated, worthless and ashamed. Time to Talk Day is a chance for everyone to talk, to listen and to change lives.

Everyone has mental health just as we all have physical health, and both are equally important. All of us will experience times in our life when we feel less mentally well than usual, such as when a relationship ends, or we face financial difficulties. Some people become more unwell than others, but stigma creates a wall of judgement, isolation and shame for those who deserve more of our kindness. This can stop people seeking help, so it is all our responsibilities to help end the stigma by breaking the silence.

Talking about mental health isn’t always easy, but it can make an enormous difference to somebody’s life. Think about the people around you – your friends, family, workmates… does someone seem stressed a lot? Has someone’s appearance changed? Does someone seem distracted or absent? Are they using social media differently? Have you asked, ‘are you ok?’. You don’t have to be an expert to talk and to listen, and often it’s the little things that make a big difference.

I thought I was doing ok, but when someone actually asked me, everything I’d kept hidden came flooding out. It didn’t solve things, but sharing how I felt was like a huge weight being lifted. It helped me see through the fog and have hope.” Sarah

Every conversation about mental health brings us closer to a world without stigma and there are lots of ways to get conversations started. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking someone ‘how are you doing?’, and really listening to the answer. You could talk about a mental-health related story in the news or a celebrity to get the conversation started. It can also be easier to talk side-by-side rather than face-to-face: when you’re cooking, driving or walking somewhere are all good opportunities to give it a try.

There are lots of people you can talk to about your own mental health if you are unable to talk to people around you. Some of these include:

Solidarity in a Crisis (Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham)

0300 123 1922 or text on 0778 975 6081 or 0778 975 6083

The Samaritans

116 123

Rethink Mental Illness

0300 5000 927

Mind

0300 123 3393

Your GP

You can also join a free training course with the Zero Suicide Alliance, who are committed to suicide prevention. You will learn how to identify when someone is showing signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviour, talk about it with them in a supportive manner and help them identify the services or support that might help them.

Here at Certitude we understand the value of sharing experiences and life stories and we support people to build trusting, lasting relationships with people they can turn to for support. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook today to hear more about how talking about mental health has helped people across Certitude.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, have a conversation about mental health today. Together, we can end mental health discrimination.