Today is Time to Talk Day, an initiative from mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, aimed at breaking the silence around mental health. Organisations and individuals up and down the country are helping to spread the word about this fantastic initiative and with great reason to. On our doorstep, Huckle the Barber has been offering free tea, coffee and donuts this morning for anyone who just wants to pop in for a chat. It’s really inspiring to see.
Despite one in four people in the UK being affected by mental health issues, talking about them openly is still a taboo subject. It is frankly outrageous that a society such as ours – world-leaders in all kinds of of medical research and treatment – can’t grasp mental health as a comfortable subject.
Whether it’s something that impacts an individual’s self-esteem, relationships or completely dictates someone’s day-to-day life, mental health problems can be debilitating to both the sufferer and those around them; it’s time to talk.
Ultimately, mental health is personal. It’s the most personal thing we have. Your mental makeup defines you and is the core of who you are. Of course, the idea of sharing can be daunting and should always be a personal choice, however the bigger issue is that as a society we don’t make it the norm to talk about mental health and as such the acceptance isn’t there.
We should do more to encourage people to talk, not to retreat. Let’s make a change. Let’s lose the throwaway phrases that mean we don’t have to deal with what might be going on. Let’s replace the comment about your friend being “too sensitive”, “volatile”, “lairy”, “antisocial” or a “recluse” and replace them with something simple. “How are you feeling mate?” or “Are you OK?”