As one of the most important days in the mental health calendar, Time to Talk Day takes place on the first Thursday of February every year. Since its launch in 2014, TTTD has brought the nation together to start talking and break the stigma around mental health problems. With this year’s event on the 7th February marking my first as a Time to Change champion, I thought it’d be apt to share what I’m doing for it and why everybody should get involved in some capacity.
As mentioned at the start, TTTD 2019 is my first as a champion. Having got a taste of successful events during Mental Health Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day and other days throughout 2018, both locally and nationwide, I’m keen to build on that success and engage with more people than ever before. Due to my own mental health, campaigning has been forced to take a backseat recently, however TTTD provides me with the perfect opportunity to get involved again.
The topic for this year’s TTTD is ingredients, specifically what ingredients are needed to make a good conversation around mental health. While it may seem quite challenging and daunting to start a conversation about mental health, there are so many ways it can be done. Whether you at home, in a café or even in the gym, you can start a conversation around mental health. You don’t have to be an expert!
In order to mark the day, I will be taking part in two activities in the Blackpool area. From 9am-11am I will be attending a coffee morning at the local charity ‘Empowerment’. After signing the Time to Change employers pledge in January 2018, they have arranged monthly ‘tea and toast’ meetings, have set-up their very own dedicated ‘time to talk’ room to prioritise the wellbeing of staff and now organised what looks like a brilliant event for TTTD. Here there will be information leaflets available to promote the TTC brand and encourage conversations, games to highlight to affects of pressure, as well as lots of food and refreshments for people to enjoy. This event is also the perfect chance to share what they are doing as an organisation and to persuade other organisations to incorporate TTC practices into their workplace!
From 11:30 until 3pm, I will be attending my second activity at Houndshill shopping centre. Titled as ‘Ready, Steady, Talk’, our event will include a community pledge wall, goody bags, plenty of free TTC merchandise and a photo booth. The winner of best photo will also win a £50 Love2Shop gift card!
Throughout the day, a group of 5-6 champions and staff will be approaching members of the public passing through the shopping centre. Our aim will be start conversations about mental health, challenge any negative attitudes (e.g stigma/discrimination) and engage people in some of the activities available. Sometimes it can be difficult to get people talking about mental health, however we are optimistic that the stuff we have on offer will draw people over and allow us to have more meaningful conversations. Whatever happens, it’s great to see so much stuff going on to raise awareness of mental health and break down barriers. Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel ashamed and isolated.
Although I will be attending numerous events on TTTD, I think it’s important to reiterate that EVERY conversation counts. It may seem be pretty small but even just chatting to friend over lunch can make a massive difference. Don’t get me wrong I love going to events and speaking to lots of people, however the little things can be just as effective. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of holding a major event, however this can be detrimental to our wellbeing. We need to look after ourselves too!
Remember, however you do it, make it a conversation about mental health!
If you are interested in getting involved, join the conversation on social media using #TimetoTalk or visit the website below for more details.
Thanks for reading,