It has never been more important to talk about our mental health. The fight to normalise these conversations and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health is an ongoing battle, one in which we all have a role to play. From the current cost of living crisis to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, we know that people are struggling.
Research from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute tells us that people with mental health problems are nearly twice as likely to say they are unable to cope due to the rising cost of living. A staggering 46% of us have reduced the number of meals we eat every day, and one in five (19%) say they’ve missed an appointment for their own mental health. What these statistics clearly reveal is that we must act now to create a space to talk about it.
Since becoming president of Mind in 2011, I have made it my mission to promote better conversations around mental wellbeing. I know myself that talking about a diagnosis can be scary, but it’s vital – and we all know that talking can help us feel less alone, more able to cope and encourage us to seek the support we need.
That’s why I am so proud to support the nation’s biggest conversation about mental health, Time to Talk Day. This year, it is on Thursday 2 February. Last year, we had nearly 2 million conversations. This year, with your help, I know we can surpass that number.
I am asking readers to make space on that day for a conversation about mental health. It could be that you simply send a text to a friend, or perhaps you lend a listening ear to a colleague who you know has been a bit down. Or maybe you would like to share some issues or problems that have been concerning you. Even better, think about hosting an event in your community to raise awareness. And don’t worry – those lovely people at the charities organising Time to Talk Day have plenty of tips and resources on their websites to help.
Above all, though, this is a chance for all of us to talk, to listen and to change lives. So, from me, in advance, a giant “thank” and a whopping “you” for anything you can do to help.