This year, “Time to Talk” Day falls on 6th February 2020. Created in 2013, #TimetoTalk Day is all about removing the stigma of mental health. All around the country, schools, businesses and organisations are taking part in making it easy to talk about mental health.
This year it revolves around the game “would you rather”, an ideal icebreaker to open a conversation about the stresses and strains we’re under, what bothers us, what causes us problems. Talking about these issues doesn’t have to be awkward.
So, what could you do in your place of work?
Have you appointed one or more Mental Health Champions? These are colleagues that people would feel comfortable talking to. They are people willing to help, maybe act as a sounding board when others encounter problems at work. We’re not always willing or able to talk to our boss, they might even be the problem, so a mental health champion will be trained in providing that first point of contact. They can then point the person in the right direction or just be a listening ear if someone needs a person to talk to who understands.
Set up dedicated coffee breaks where you talk about mental health. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes where people can openly talk about mental health. Appoint a facilitator who offers topics for discussion and maybe also advice on how to deal with colleagues who show signs of distress.
Encourage joining in the conversation online using the hashtag #TimetoTalk on the day. Maybe colleagues can share incidences where talking about a problem has helped them.
Create online content that you can share on the day. Talk about initiatives you have already implemented or are going to implement. Make an open commitment to the world of what you’re going to do to improve mental health at work.
Why is #TimetoTalk important?
We all know the old adage “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Talking about our problems makes them less overwhelming as we get out of our own heads. If we only stay in our own heads, we tend to make problems bigger every time we think about them. By talking them through out loud with someone else, we gain a better perspective. In addition, we might get some advice that can help.
When we talk about our problems openly, we help people to understand us better. We are not just “the grumpy lady from accounting“ or “the moody guy in shipping” anymore. People get to understand the stresses we’re under better, are more likely to give us some leeway and don’t expect us to be cheery all the time. If we show that we (yes, even managers) all have problems from time to time, it will invite others to also share.
How the Work Well Practice can help
Stress can be a major issue when it comes to mental health. In 2018/19 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health cases and 54% of all working days lost due to ill health. We have put together a free download, which includes a printable infographic reminder of simple stress reducing actions you can take at work, an eBook and a relaxation MP3. To download my ’10 Killer SOS Stress Management Strategies For Middle And Senior Leaders’, simply scroll down and enter your name and email address after clicking the link.
For further information and to find out how I can help you improve mental health in the workplace, you contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 075 222 777 22.