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It’s Good to Talk About Mental Health
I’ve written before about how famous peoples’ experiences of mental health problems can promote recovery and help to defeat stigma, and there’s a new campaign this month that takes this one step further- to get us all talking. The ‘It’s Time to Talk’ campaign has been launched by the mental health charities MIND and Rethink as part of their long-standing ‘time to change’ campaign. How does this work? Well the idea is that the campaign will encourage people to have a conversation about their own experiences of mental health problems. The campaign hopes that people will use all the new forms of social media to talk, or pledge their support for the campaign. There are lots of other suggested ways of getting a message across, such as contacting radio phone-ins to talk about experiences and encouraging people to wear heart shaped ‘time to talk’ fake tattoos, literally wearing your heart on your sleeve. Maybe some of these ideas aren’t for everybody, but they are clearly challenging the idea that, because it might feel awkward to talk about mental health, therefore we shouldn’t do it.
So if tattoos and twitter aren’t for you but you want to support the campaign there are other ways that you can find on the time to talk website. For example there’s a quiz that questions some myths about mental ill-health, and there are some tips about how to talk to someone who may have a mental health problem. That sounds obvious, why do we need to be told how to talk to people, but sometimes people do worry, ‘what if I say the wrong thing to someone with a mental illness?’
Why is it good to talk about mental health problems? Well, talking about a problem is usually the first step to getting appropriate help for it, and talking about a problem can be therapeutic in itself. There’s an excellent article on recovery I’ve referred to in mental health awareness training, which summarises research into mental health recovery from a British perspective (Turner-Crowson and Wallcraft 2002). The paper tells how service users have used writing and talking about their experiences as a key part of self-help. So the message is, talking about mental health really does help.
Have a look at the campaign website at http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/talk-about-mental-health for some more ideas. Maybe you could use a noticeboard in your place of work to display some of the campaign’s publicity material.
Turner-Crowson J. & Wallcraft J. (2002) The Recovery Vision for Mental Health Services and Research: A British Perspective Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal
*All information is correct at the time of publishing