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by Staff writer

Advice for honest communication, Time to Talk Day 2019

The ‘Time to Change’ organisation are a social movement committed to ending the overbearing stigma that surrounds mental health in the UK and thus improving social accessibility for treatment. Led by the Mind and Rethink Mental Illness charities, the group have undertaken many campaigns in recent years to this end.

You may be familiar with their adverts, promoting the value of reassuring the people in your life that you’re there to listen if they have issues with their wellbeing that they need to discuss, even if they’re initially dismissive. The #asktwice hashtag has been a central focus for this sentiment, one that we at JSA readily endorse, conscious as we are to the pervasiveness of mental health issues in society and the importance of embracing support.

One of their outreach tactics takes the form of their official ‘Time to Talk’ day. The object of this annual observance is to find the time to have an important and open conversation about mental health with your friends, colleagues or loved ones that you might otherwise avoid. This year, Time to Talk day falls tomorrow, on Thursday the 7th of February.

In their own words:

“Mental health problems affect one in four of us, yet people are still afraid to talk about it. Time to Talk Day encourages everyone to talk about mental health. This year’s Time to Talk Day is all about bringing together the right ingredients, to have a conversation about mental health. Whether that’s tea, biscuits and close friends or a room full of people challenging mental health stigma, we want you to get talking. However you do it, make sure you have a conversation about mental health this Time to Talk Day.”

As far as we’re concerned, it’s well established fact within the field of psychology and psychotherapy that setting time aside to confide your thoughts and concerns with someone else is immeasurably more beneficial than keeping quiet about them to ruminate alone.

Sometimes, the biggest barrier to a frank and open discussion can be finding the right words to let others understand how you feel. One way to get around this is to time your conversation so that it takes place while you’re walking somewhere with the person you’re opening up to. In the simplest terms, the rhythmic motion of moving your feet serves as a biological shortcut to encourage both hemispheres of the brain to work more efficiently in a process known as bi-lateral stimulation. It’s a simple technique, but one that can kick-start the brain into piecing together the puzzle of communicating your needs, so you won’t find yourself frustratingly tongue-tied when the time comes.

We’ll be following Time to Change’s lead to stay earnestly honest and direct in our discussion of mental health. If someone in your life seems to be suffering in silence or you’re feeling uncomfortable expressing your own worries for fear of sounding silly, Time to Talk 2019 can be your chance to have a much-needed walk, meal or meeting to address the elephant in the room.

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