It’s Time to Talk about mental health

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A campaign to encourage people to speak openly about mental health issues is being supported by health leaders in the Black Country.

Time to Talk Day, which takes place on Thursday 1 February, is a day that brings the nation together to get talking and break the silence around mental health problems.

The winter months can be a very isolating period haunted by disappointment, anxiety, sadness, depression or even suicidal thoughts. At this time of year, we all need to talk more than ever.

Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, worthless and ashamed. Time to Talk Day is a chance for all of us to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives.

One in four people nationally will suffer with a mental health issue at some point in their lives and health leaders in the Black Country are keen to break down the stigma and discrimination that surrounds people with a mental illness.

Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be difficult, it can be as simple as making time to have a cup of tea or go for a walk and listening to someone talk about how they feel.

Being open about mental health and ready to listen can make a positive difference to someone’s life.

This is what Time to Talk Day is all about – giving everyone the chance to talk and listen about mental health. Whatever the hour, every conversation, every text, every share means more people are reached and more lives are changed. By starting a conversation it can make a difference.

Dr Nick Harding, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

"It’s easy to think there’s no right place to talk about mental health. But the more we talk about it, the better life is for all of us. All too often people who are experiencing a mental health illness keep it to themselves, worried about what other people might think of them. But Time to Talk Day is a fantastic way of showing everyone that sometimes just talking with someone can really help.

"Being open to mental health doesn’t have to be awkward and being there for someone can make a huge difference to their life. Having a mental health problem is hard enough, but sometimes the isolation and stigma can make it even worse. Talking is an important part of our relationships. It can strengthen our ties with other people and help us stay in good mental health. And being listened to helps us feel that other people care about us and what we have to say."

The winter campaign to inform patients about the flu vaccine and the right NHS service to use for different conditions and illnesses is being run by the four clinical commissioning groups across the Black Country in association with the Black Country Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.