This year, Time to Change (TTC) will be working in partnership, with I’m NOT Disordered on a exclusive series of projects for Time To Talk Day (TTD) on February 2nd.
Questions completed by Angela Slater, Community Equalities
Co-ordinator, Time To Change
Can you tell us about the worst (least helpful, most upsetting, anger-provoking etc) talk you’ve had with another person regarding mental health?
Since joining Time to Change I find that most conversations about mental health are useful even if the person’s attitude towards mental health is negative as I know I is not personal and is a result of stigma. I really enjoy the conversations talking to people who in the past I would have found offensive as I see it as a real opportunity to raise awareness and challenge stigma and prejudice which is always great.
However I had an experience around a year ago where my GP dismissed a physical health issue based on my mental health experience. Later that day I ended up in hospital for a week due to my physical health after being told by my GP to go home and ‘calm down’ (in a patronising tone). This really upset me at the time. I know that many people do not always get the appropriate physical health care if they experience mental health problems. This was difficult as they were in a position of power over my health and I was in a lot of pain and fear.
Can you tell us about the greatest (most positive, beneficial, encouraging, supportive etc) talk you’ve had with another person regarding mental health?
I feel like in my role at Time to Change I have had so many that it is difficult to pin one down. I really enjoy it when you are talking to people and the ‘penny drops’ and they start to understand the reality rather than the myths of mental health. I also know though just because a person may leave a conversation seemingly no different that there won’t be a change further down the line. These things can be accumulative as well as immediate.
Finally, list three reasons why you think people should talk about mental health:
1. Because it affects everybody- we all have mental health. Sometimes it’s good , sometimes it’s not-just like physical health.
2. Because not talking about it makes people feel alone, isolated and ashamed and sometimes unable to seek the help that they need.
3. Because stigma affects every area of people’s lives- their relationships, work, studies, community life etc. This has a very limiting impact on peoples lives.