Happy Time To Talk Day!

For Time To Talk Day 2019 I spoke to a number of individuals and got their thoughts on the benefits of talking about mental health…

Talking about mental health helps people feel less alone and less isolated. Sharing my story not only helps others but it helps my feel less ashamed of myself. Also, it helps break down the stigma surrounding mental health and shows people that it can happen to anyone.

Charlotte Underwood, Author and Blogger 

Talking about mental health is more than just beneficial. When you speak about your mental health you are liberating not only yourself but those around you. You are changing the world, your world and shaping the world to come. There is nothing more freeing that using the voice we were born with.

Rebecca Lombardo, Author, Advocate, and Podcaster 

The benefits of talking about mental health are always changing. At first, I started out just trying to let other people know that they were not alone. While that is still one of my primary reasons, there are many more. I have also received support from all over the world. I’ve learned about new treatments and ways of coping with whatever I am struggling with. The sense of comradery is like no other, and I’m very glad I began talking about my mental health.

Martin Baker, Blogger at Gum On My Shoe and Author of High Tide Low Tide 

Others will speak about the benefits of sharing their own lived experience. I’d like to approach this from the standpoint of someone like myself who does not live with mental illness but knows, cares about, and supports friends who do. The fact a friend feels able to share with me what is going on for them is vital to our relationship and to my ability to support them effectively. I can never truly understand what they are living with, but if the channels are open, I can understand what they most need, whether that’s practical help or someone to hear them. In a wider sense, talking about mental health is something we can all do, whether we are sharing our own lived experience or talking more generally. At work, I’m part of the mental health awareness team, helping to develop and implement strategies in line with Time To Change’s Employer Pledge Scheme. Our aim is to foster a work culture where people feel safe to talk about issues they may be facing without fear of stigma or discrimination. Being a point of contact for colleagues, and for other people outside of work, is profoundly rewarding. 

Peter McDonnell, Writer

Talking about mental health encourages process. It contributes to so much in the mental health world. Imagine if Einstein had never spoken about science! By talking we thrash out ideas and lay down wisdom for future generations. Talking about it creates enthusiasm with others who might have had no interest in mental health before. Every time I talk about my mental health I get a response of “please tell me more!” At least half of the people have a friend or relative with a mental health problem and they always appreciate someone who has been through the ups and downs to offer advice. Talking has been so helpful for me personally too, I began by talking to my brothers a long time ago and after a few conversations I was much less embarrassed about sticking out in public because I was quite clearly mentally ill. But now I am as proud as punch to tell people all about my mental illness and how I got (almost) better. My mental illness used to be a bone of contention for me causing me to withdraw, but now, just try and shut me up!

Living with a mental illness can be tough, to say the least. But having someone to talk with - or maybe to just listen - can make all the difference.
I know from personal experience what a difference it can make having someone who ‘gets’ it, who you can talk to when the dark clouds start to build. In the knowledge that you won’t be judged and they’re there to listen, empathize and support, if you want it. And when you don’t want to talk, to just be there.
It doesn’t always need to be someone you know, just someone who’s there when you need them to talk to. It could be a friend, a family member, your GP, The Samaritans, other charities or a total stranger who you meet on the bus, down the shops or on the streets.
Just someone who makes the time to talk and listen. Don’t be alone. Reach out and find that person who could help you cope and keep on going until you feel that the dark clouds are passing away.
Talk, Talk, Talk? Maybe not. But talk when it might help? Deffo!

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