Tea and Talk: Mental health check-in ahead of Time to Talk Day 2021

Kickstarting the conversation with a loved one about their mental health, or even to discuss how you’re feeling, can be a daunting prospect – but opening up is a critical step for your wellbeing. In 2021, it’s time to talk.

PUT ON THE KETTLE

Time to Talk Day is an annual event working to end mental health discrimination one conversation at a time. No matter how big or small, any conversation around mental health has the power to make a big difference.

If you are concerned for a loved one, or you are feeling overwhelmed, taking the time to talk about how you’re feeling is imperative. On Time to Talk Day (taking place on Thursday 4 February 2021) it’s the chance to get the nation opening up about mental health.

TEA OR COFFEE

One in four people will experience a mental health condition each year, with one in six people reporting experiencing a common mental health problem such as anxiety and depression in any given week.

Taking ownership of your mental health can start with a simple conversation, but sometimes this is the hardest step.

Asking someone, “How are you?” ignites a conversation, be there to listen to the response and allow a person to have a safe, comfortable environment to discuss what they are thinking about, their concerns, and worries.

Remember, nobody is asking you to be a mental health expert: you’re here to listen and show a loved one that they are not alone. Talking about mental health doesn’t have to be awkward, being there can make a significant difference.

ADD THE MILK

If you haven’t heard from a friend in a long time, it is important you reach out.

Someone experiencing a mental health problem might start isolating themselves, use social media differently, potentially even be irritable or blunt; by staying in contact and being yourself your friend or loved one will know they are not alone.

Living with a mental health condition can be very draining. With continued low moods and anxiety, it can be hard for someone to reach out. In some cases, a person may be left feeling they are a burden on friends or family. A simple text, email, call or even nipping around for a cup of tea will be very much appreciated.

CRACK OPEN THE BISCUITS

During your conversation, be mindful of how you react. There may be moments in the chat where you don’t know how to respond; if a loved one starts talking about self-harm, suicidal thoughts or ideations it can be incredibly scary and you may not know where to turn.

People who start to have difficulty thinking, expressing unusual beliefs, or perceiving that things around them have changed may be experiencing early signs of psychosis.

Although it may be worrying for you as a listener, allow your loved one to continue talking and ensure you don’t dismiss anything they say or do, however, don’t agree that you also see or hear something that isn’t there.

Talking about suicide can also save lives.

Unfortunately, the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 45 is suicide, and we need to continue talking about suicide to reduce the stigma.

TOP TIP : Asking about suicidal feelings or ideations will not increase the risk of someone taking their own life. This might be an unsettling process, so if you feel the need to speak to someone after the conversation there is help available for you too.

Make sure you don’t shy away from the topic, ask how they are considering completing suicide and why they think this is the right option. By listening and allowing your friend or loved one to talk it will show there is someone there who cares.

TALK IT OUT

You’re never alone, whether you’re looking for more information, support or you are experiencing a mental health crisis, there are people and organisations on hand to help.

Samaritans,

116 123

E: jo@samaritans.org

Breathing Space

0800 83 85 87

CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably

0800 58 58 58

Mind

0300 123 3393

Crossreach

My Online Therapy

TalkSpace

Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)

In an emergency always call 999, for more information visit the NHS or speak to your GP.