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Time to talk

Thursday 1 February 2024 has been designated as time to talk day. The idea is that every year we make a concerted effort to talk about mental health. That we ask others "How are you?"

It is tragic that we have to set aside a specific day to do this, but since it is there try to make the most of the opportunity. So how does it work? How do we suddenly start talking about mental health? It is certainly not enough to think I am ready to talk if someone will open up. It is time for us to talk and make it easy for those struggling to say they are not ok.

As the whole day is dedicated to talking why not start at work. Ask your colleagues how they are. If they say they are ok ask again "how are you really?". If your opening doesn't lead to a conversation take the lead. Talk about how you feel, or the last time you were feeling down. You will be surprised how quickly a conversation develops.

But don't stop there. Why not call a friend or check in on a neighbour. When you get home ask your partner and children how they are. Talk about your conversations during the day and ask about any worries or concerns your loved ones might have. If you are feeling down try to think about someone you can talk and possible tell you are not ok. Could you post how you are feeling on our Facebook page, possibly anonymously?

When having a conversation, the most important aspect is to actively listen. Do not offer any judgements or advice. Do ask gentle questions to ensure you understand what is said and for reassurance you are listening. Be there to listen and support the person who is opening up to you. Follow up on the conversation to see how they are doing, do not assume they are suddenly ok or will open up again. Check in on the them, ask them for a coffee and see how they are getting on. We shouldn't have to wait until the 1st February but what a great opportunity it is to break the ice and have an excuse for talking about mental health. For more information please see the following:

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