Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’? Cheesy, yes, but is there any truth to it?
In the UK, one in four of us will have experienced a mental health problem in the last year. Suffering with poor mental health is one thing but the fear of judgement, shame and isolation if anyone knew what we were going through can make things feel so much worse.
As you may know, February the 3rd is Time to Talk Day. Time to Talk Day is about encouraging everyone to be more open in a bid to end the stigma associated with mental health. This is so that we feel as though we are more able to share, and help each other through difficult times.
In October 2021, a research project sponsored by the Co-op identified four critical themes that help to build resilience among individuals and communities:
- Community hubs and voluntary sector networks. These allow people to build connections, be active locally and provide access to mental health support.
- Open and supportive environments to talk about mental health and wellbeing. An ‘open door culture’ for people to talk about mental wellbeing and share personal experiences.
- Actively participating and making connections within communities. Public space provides opportunities for people to build social connections, take pride in their area, relax and reflect. Through neighbourliness, community organising and volunteering, people are able to support their own and others’ resilience.
- Identities and belonging. Community identities and shared narratives establish a sense of belonging and help people feel secure and connected to their community, and able to overcome challenges together.
You’ll notice that each of these four points encourage communication and openness in our social groups. So we know that the more conversations that we have, the more barriers we can break down, helping to end the isolation that many of us feel when it comes to our mental health.
Time to Talk Day is about creating communities by having open and honest conversations with the people in our lives about mental health. We all have mental health, and no one is immune. The more we discuss it, the better we can support ourselves and others. Conversations have the power to change lives, who are you going to begin yours with?