What is Time To Talk Day?
Time To Talk Day is an incredible annual awareness event that takes place on the first Thursday of every February – created to get the nation talking about mental health.
Since it was launched by Time To Change in 2014, it has sparked millions of conversations in schools, homes, workplaces, in the media and online. The campaign provides a starting point for everyone to be more open about mental health; to talk, to listen and change lives.
Why is Time To Talk Day important?
The power of words is so hugely underestimated. We know how much damage the ignorant comments of stigma can cause. Which is why on the flip side, talking about mental health has the power to save lives. Even if it’s a simple “How are you?” – trust me, it makes all the difference.
1 in 4 of us will experience mental illness in our lifetime. So, why as a nation are we still so reluctant to talk about it? We’re great at talking about the weather, over-dramatizing a sore throat or babbling nonsensical bullshit to the poor kebab shop worker after a few too many jager bombs.
So why are we so bad at talking about things that actually matter? Is it fear? Shame? A lack of understanding? The typically British stiff upper lip? We learn how to form words at a young age and as we grow we expand our vocabulary and learn how to talk to people. We cannot take the power of words for granted. You don’t need to have a PhD in clinical psychology to ask someone how they are or if they want to talk about what’s on their mind.
As a united voice, we can break down outdated stereotypes and provide essential education on a subject that is still such a taboo. Too many people are made to feel isolated and ashamed of the illness they carry. Stigma and discrimination can be a serious barrier in the diagnosis and treatment of someone who needs help, or even their ability to talk honestly about how they feel. By talking about mental health, we can promote acceptance, understanding and the acknowledgement that mental health is just as important as physical health. Your attitude towards mental health could change a life, or possibly even save one.
Have A Conversation
I have quite a love/hate relationship with Time To Talk Day. I hate the fact that in this day and age, there still has to be a designated day to remind us to talk about and acknowledge mental health. It saddens me how vile certain attitudes about it still are. However, I love it too as campaigns like Time To Talk Day provide a voice for those who can’t quite find theirs.
Once upon a time, I was terrified of telling anyone about the issues I had. I feared judgement and I felt ashamed of who I was. I was very aware of the stigma that hung over the words ‘mental illness’ like a relentless dark cloud. On days like this, I am always beyond inspired by the bravery and openness of people about mental health. Speaking out about my jumbled mind was one of the best things I have done.
Time To Talk Day is one of the most transformative and determined campaigns in changing attitudes towards mental health. I encourage everyone to embrace the meaning of the day and have a conversation.
Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and neither is talking about it. It’s time to talk.