It’s Time to Talk Day! The theme of this year’s is Conversations Change Lives and boy, do they. It’s very important to consider the effects that a small conversation can have on somebody – good and bad – and being a Time to Change Champion, it’s my job to tell you all about it.
If you know somebody who is struggling with a mental illness, I urge you to send them a message. Right now. It’s as simple as ‘Hi, how are you?’ ‘Fancy a brew?’ and that teeny tiny message that takes you a few seconds to send, has the power to change somebody’s day.
So how can such a tiny chat have such an impact?
One of the things I remember most clearly is a feeling of isolation that was very hard to shift. You feel like you’re completely on your own, nobody understands, and this, accompanied by the feeling that it’s always going to be like this, was when I found myself in crisis. You have the power to help prevent crisis. If you suffer yourself, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the comforting sound of the words ‘me too‘ or ‘same‘ and understand their importance. This can be all it takes. As soon as I started talking about my mental illnesses, I started recovery.
What should I do if they confide in me?
If somebody wants to speak about their mental health or confide in you, firstly, don’t underestimate how bloody fab that is. The whole point of this is encouraging conversation and I assure you, that first conversation is the hardest. Trust is absolutely vital and if somebody feels that they can talk to you, let them. Try to understand how difficult it can be to speak about mental health and have a bit of patience. You may not even have to say anything, just listen to them and make sure they’re aware that help is out there, support is out there, and there are many other people out there. Many other people who know exactly how it feels. If you feel that somebody may be at the point of crisis or needs more urgent help, I would recommend pointing them in the direction of Samaritans which is a 24/7 confidential helpline. They can be contacted via email, telephone and text message.
It’s time to talk!