After a few years of disruption, uncertainty, and increased isolation it is no surprise that individuals are feeling the effects of this. However, a large proportion of those mental health problems are left undiagnosed and untreated, so Thursday 2nd February has been named ‘Time to Talk Day’ to bring this topic to light and start the conversation.
At a time when the ability to communicate with friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers is quite literally at our fingertips and the culture of sharing is part of many people’s lives, how do we talk more about the important things? Social media can play a great role in assisting with this, we have public channels, forums and for some it brings a sense of community, but it can also distance us from the people closest to us. Scrolling through timelines can provide a skewed perspective on friends’ lives and accomplishments, we make assumptions based on filtered information, which is often just the tip of the iceberg, comparing it against our own lives, minus the airbrushing. People tend to respect physical health, there’s a clearer understanding that if you have an injury, you’ll seek treatment and advice on recovery or if you feel unwell you might take it easy for a day. We concentrate on fitness or look for guidance on what to eat, yet we don’t always allocate the same time or significance to what’s going on in our minds.
“We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.”
Time to Talk Day is all about creating supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health. We may all have a different relationship with our mental health, but we all have one, and sharing experiences, raising awareness, and bringing the topic to the table has the power to change lives. Although talking about mental health isn’t always the easiest, conversation allows us to exchange ideas, hear conflicting perspectives and can lead to healthy discussions both at work and in our personal lives. People need to know that it’s OK to ask for help, but we also need to create opportunities for them to do this, to know that they have a safe place to voice concerns or challenges so that solutions can be found.
The website offers numerous ways to get involved as well as resources on the subject, but beyond the 2nd, we must keep up the conversation, maintaining that dialogue with the people around us, ensuring that we don’t just talk but we listen too.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”