Monthly Archives: February 2015

Its important to talk

cover-blogAs a mental health carer I feel this is one of the most important things that can help build up a stronger relationship between a carer and whoever they help support, although I have not blogged in a while. I having been thinking about this issue and felt the need to post about it.

Ever since the Time To Change campaign on tackling mental health stigma. I have realised how important it is to talk to your caree. I am sure many carers out there do this and try to spend time with who they support or care for, but I feel perhaps it might not be as widespread as I initially thought.

I was at a Time To Talk event yesterday where we heard from Time To Change Champions. Now a Time To Change Champion is a sort of volunteer, but they also do talks, promote events and have gone through or are still going through the mental ill health. I found out several startling facts from the speakers who pointed out that many men under 45 are high on the list of taking their own lives. They almost stated that the south east of London has a very high rate of mental ill health cases, but what most took my attention is a lot of these points could be tackled by just talking about mental health issues.

I am not saying that its going to be easy, because mental health can be a personal issue, but I feel so much can be done by talking about the following

  • What is mental health
  • What is stigma and discrimination in mental health
  • Talking about our mental health to those we trust
  • Letting who we care for know we are there for them
  • Working together with mental health professionals to tackle the high rate of mental health cases
  • Raising awareness in all settings
    • Schools
    • Workplace
    • Community
    • Health industry
  • Working towards increasing the social capital of those suffering mental health stigma.
  • Being honest with ourselves about our mental health.

Mental health and honesty

I am sure I could add more to the list above and some of these mentioned would need some funding, although I have seen so many volunteers working hard to raise awareness. It is also important to mention there are many other mental health and carer organisations working hard to break the stigma by not only talking, but also providing support. I guess what I am trying to say is we are all doing our bit, but there is always more work to be done.

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Living in London and realising that mental ill health is so high makes me wonder how many of us are honest about our own mental health. Perhaps it is good to be aware that mental health needs to be tackled, but the problem how we can do what we can in our own way. We need to lessen the rate of mental health problems in London and practically the UK, obviously more will need to be done and the problems of deprivation, social isolation and building stronger communities have to be addressed.

Hearing that young men have a high rate of using the mental health system and also being 3 times more likely to take their own lives states that I should also be honest about my mental health as well as many men out there. We need to know that its ok to talk to someone and being vulnerable is not a weakness. I will point out though that society needs to do their bit as well, because I also feel many young men are not supported enough and many issues are swept under the carpet.

A carers role

As a carer its important to remind those we look after that we care for them. I know this is not going to be easy or even possible for many carers out there, but if we try it can make a lot of difference. The hardest thing I have noticed is that sometimes those suffering mental ill health may not have the capacity or energy to recognise friends and families trying to care. Mental ill health can easily destroy those precious relationships, it breaks bonds, isolates the sufferer and can turn people against each other.

Carer’s, those with lived experience and health professionals can all play their part working together to strengthen the ties of support and recovery. A carer has to try talk to their caree and at the same time avoid labelling their loved one, we can all do our bit.

A change just requires we keep talking.

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Valentine’s day is more than just about love

Matthew Mckenzie (2)As of this blog post, today is valentine’s day. This is the day where people share their appreciation of each other. Where there is a chance to express your love interest or rekindle the flame of love on your current partner. Of course there will be many others there who do not have anyone to share the special day with, but maybe there will come a time when it is there turn.



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Time To Talk day 2015

As of this blog post. It is Time to Talk day  over in the UK, which falls on the 5th of February. It has been a while since my last blog post and to be honest, I have been fairly busy with work and mental health involvement, but going back to the subject at hand. What is “Time To Talk” day all about?


Time To Talk day focuses on the point that we should at least try to spend 5 minutes of that day talking to someone about our health, especially mental health. In fact I would go so far to state we should try to open up a bit more about ourselves, especially with a close friend or someone you trust.

Time To Talk day is support by Time To Change, who are Led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness which is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination.


You see the problem is mental health discrimination and stigma are still prevalent in today’s society. There are so many cases of people falling into mental ill health, because they do not get the support. Some who develop mental health problems might have stigma or shame about their symptoms and may often refuse to talk about it or refuse to seek help. For those who do not open up about what is bothering them, this situation can be risky because if they do not talk about their health or seek help, then its highly likely their mental health situation may get worse.

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There can be a large number of mental health cases that could be reduced if we all took the step to at least phone a friend. The emphasis need not be on the sufferer, but we as friends, helpers or carers can phone others who we are worried about.

Unfortunately so many of us know deep down that someone is developing a mental health issue or are struggling.  It could be stress, depression, compulsive disorder or many others mental health problems.

The sad thing is that people often sit back and feel it is not their problem to check up on someone. Perhaps the person feels that they are being nosey or are imposing themselves on others. Maybe a lot of us do not have time to check up on others, but the situation is that if we do not check up on those who might be suffering in silence, then its quite likely someone may deteriorate in their mental health.

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It is so important to talk to others on what is worrying or brother in us, but also on the other hand it can be important to check up with our friends on how they are feeling. Its not like we have to say much, but at least listen to them.

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Being a carer myself of someone using the services, I know only too well what other carers may go through. Over the 12 years of caring, I have spoken and listened to so many carers in carers groups, networks, forums and events. I hear time and time again how carers have been isolated and brought to their wits end, because they had no one to turn to or no one acknowledge their situation. We carers need to step up and support not only ourselves, but each other.

The thing is mental ill health does not discriminate, if you are a carer or support of someone who unfortunately has developed mental ill health, I am sure at times that  you have been upset, depressed, anxious, worried and guilty. Taking these feelings to the next level, there is always a risk that carers themselves can develop mental health problems if not supported or listened to.

To counter act such problems, its important carers talk to those who we trust about how we are coping. A carer does not always need someone to wave a magic wand to solve our problems. A carer can just have someone acknowledge what carers have or still are going through.


So I hope that I have pointed out some of the reasons I think “Time To Talk” day is important. We need to push back on a society that feels that its good to be busy. As a society its good to take time out and spend it with a friend. It is good as a society we open up about mental health issues and combat the stigma and discrimination. As a society we need to change and there is no better time than to do this now.

Its Time to change!! Its Time to Talk.

Happy Time to Talk Day.