Time to Talk Day by Dal Huai

Two females facing each other. One is looking down and sad.

Student Engagement Ambassador, Dal, discusses what ‘Time to Talk Day’ is and how you can start conversations about mental health with those around you who you trust.

What is ‘Time to Talk Day’?

Hello everyone, I’m Dal and today is ‘Time to Talk Day’.  ‘Time to Talk’ Day is a day to talk about mental health. This day was launched back in 2014 by Time to Change which is a campaign to end mental health stigma run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. Today is a day of talking, listening, supporting and understanding. It can be daunting and sometimes overwhelming to talk about this topic even with close friends but in this blog, I will be sharing ways to bring it up in conversations, my own personal experience with mental health and some resources.

Starting the conversation

Bringing up mental health in a conversation is no easy task and the difficulty of bringing it up may vary from person to person whether it is due to the individual’s mental health or their environment. Some may prefer a deep heart-to-heart conversation with someone else about their mental health whilst others may find that casual conversation about it makes them less anxious. Regardless of which you prefer, here are some ways to open up:

  • ‘Hey, sorry I’ve been withdrawn these past few days. I needed space to recover my mental health’
  • ‘Hey, want to go to (wherever you hangout the most, like a café)? I just need to vent/talk/unload about something’
  • ‘Hello, I don’t think I’ve been feeling that great recently. I want to talk about it with you if you’re okay with that?’
  • ‘Is it okay if we talk about I/you feel about (whatever situation)?’
  • ‘Can we talk about (incident/situation)? I’ve not been feeling good about it.’

More examples of conversation starters.

I personally find it easier to talk about my mental health with my peers over my parents, this may be an experience you may relate to, or this could be the opposite for you. I think that personally for me, I find that my peers understand better as they are more likely to have been in the same situation as I am. An example of this was when I was extremely stressed and overwhelmed by assignments in first year.

As assignments were very new to me combined with the fact that I have an extreme fear of failure, my stress was ruining how I function from day-to-day. Some days I was simply not sleeping, other days I would completely waste the day away (not relaxing or taking a break but somehow also not working). Talking to my friends about how I felt and how I was having issues helped me form a perspective and understand the root issues better. I was having tunnel vision and did not think of the whole perspective. I learnt to manage my sleep and my work pattern better with the support of my friends.

In this way, simply mentioning your problems, or going in depth about a situation affecting you, can lead to a point of clarification or even understanding that can help you to heal and learn how to respond to your mental health and emotions.

However, this is not a one-way conversation. I did not only share my problems, but I also listened to my friends’ problems and their own mental health issues. This not only helps me understand my friends better, but it also helps me learn to appreciate them listening by listening to them myself.


If you are interested in find out more about how to start a conversation with those around you who you trust, here are some resources that might be useful:

  • The Time to Talk Day website will help you find various resources, such as conversation starters, which you can use to help you start a conversation about mental health.
  • The university also offers both in person and some video sessions where you can talk to a professional about you mental health, email counselling@reading.ac.uk or phone 01183784216 (Mon-Fri 9:00-16:00) to find out more or visit the Guidance and Support page on Essentials.
  • Samaritans: 116123 (freephone) jo@samaritans.org
  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): 0800585858 , thecalmzone.net
  • Anxiety UK: 03444775774 (helpline), 07537416905 (text)

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