Did you know that up to one in four of us might experience some form of mental health difficulty in our lifetime? Yet, whilst we happily regale others with details of our colds, allergies, bowel movements or physical aches and pains, many of us are reluctant to even hint at any mental health difficulty.
Hopefully things are starting to shift, and we can all start to feel more comfortable about admitting to lecturers that we experience anxiety when delivering presentations, or sharing with employers that we find the winters particularly difficult because of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, it is an undeniable reality that there is still stigma around mental health problems.
Whilst not suggesting that we all suddenly don personal billboards stating we have depression/anxiety/bi-polar disorder etc, there are small steps that we can all take to start making it easier to have a conversation about our collective mental health. If you think about it, one in four people means that three in four people know someone with a mental health problem. That’s someone in your lecture hall, someone in your house, someone you work with….someone in your family.
So what can you do to start this conversation?
- Ask someone how they (really) are…and wait to hear the answer;
- If you notice someone is less upbeat than usual, suggest doing something together;
- Ping someone you care about a text to show you’re thinking of them;
- Make someone a cuppa;
- Do the washing up / tidying / shopping, without being asked, to show that you care.
Time to Talk Day is Thursday 4th February 2016 – do one small thing; make a difference.