Welcome to another mental health post from Carer Matthew Mckenzie. On the 4th of February 2016, it was National Time To Talk day, which was championed by Time To Change, which is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination.
As of this blog post. It is Time to Talk dayover 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.
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.
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.
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.