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Five tips for talking about mental health

By Time to Change

Monday 26 January 2015 Student Mental Health

This week, our friends at Time to Change will be raising awareness of mental health with the second national Time to Talk Day on 5 February, encouraging everyone to take five minutes to have a conversation about mental health. You don't have to be an expert to talk about it, so here are five easy tips to help you.

The aim of Time to Talk Day is to get as many people as possible talking about mental health. By joining together we can break the silence that often surrounds mental health, and show that talking about this once-taboo issue doesn’t need to be difficult. With tens of thousands of individuals and hundreds of organisations speaking out together at the same time, we can make a huge impact and show that it really is time to talk.

On Time to Talk Day 2014, collectively we had more than a million conversations about mental health, and more than 800 organisations took part – from major banks and government departments to councils, universities and police forces.

1. Talk, but listen too

Simply being there will mean a lot. When any of us are struggling with an issue, we always appreciate the people that are there to support us just with their presence. Even before you begin a conversation, the fact that you are willing to talk is a comfort in itself.

2. Keep in touch

Everyone has different ways they like to keep in touch and there are many ways of talking to someone who needs it - meeting up, on the phone, email, text. There's no right way of keeping in touch, it all depends on the best way for the people you are talking to.

3. Don’t just talk about mental health

Chat about everyday things. People are not defined by their mental health issues; we are all made up of our personalities, experiences and values. You'll probably find you have a lot of things in common!

4. Remind them you care

You are taking a big step by being there to talk to someone with a mental health problem. And that small things can also make a big difference, like having a quick coffee break if they are a colleague or dropping off some nice treats if they are a neighbour.

5. Be patient

Ups and downs can happen. It's important not to avoid talking about the issue but give them time so they can talk about things when they are ready.

Don’t forget to log your 5 minutes

On the day there will be a live counter where you can log your five minutes and watch the counter go up in real time on the Time to Change website. The aim is to keep the conversation going for at least 24 hours, but we think we can do more!

How else can you get involved?

Find out more information about Time to Change and the myths and facts around mental health.