Mental health is real and it’s Time to Talk about it.

That’s what the mental health charity ‘Time for Change’ is saying as part of ‘Time to Talk Day’ on February 1.

It is hoping to encourage people to talk to each other about mental health, whether that be during lunch, in the toilet, or even up a mountain. Around one in four people will experience a mental health problem this year, yet half of them say that the associated isolation and shame is worse than the condition itself.

In fact, nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems say this stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives.

It’s no surprise. Some people are too scared to even think of asking for help, it’s hard enough to admit and if they’re struggling at work, it’s almost as though you fear to even mention why.

Even when you do mention why, you expect to see rolling eyes or people thinking you’re just using it as an excuse.

  • Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
  • In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem in any given week.
  • 75% of mental illnesses start before a child reaches their 18th birthday, while 50% of mental health problems in adult life (excluding dementia) take root before the age of 15.
  • 51% of young people believe that anyone their age diagnosed with a mental illness would be embarrassed.
  • Female students are more to say they have mental health problems than males (34% v 19%)

But at the same time, mental health is easy to blame – I can maybe go as far to say it’s a get-out-of-jail card – it shouldn’t be. In fact, it creates a mockery of it all.

When Samaritans released their Small Talk Saves Lives campaign last year, it proved how much a quick ‘how are you?’ could change a thought process but what it also proved is how everyone goes about their busy lives and only the rare few ask those questions.

Admittedly, I don’t either – sometimes it’s hard to make conversation with strangers, I offer a quick smile in passing but every time one random stranger has struck up a conversation with me, it’s been something to remember, even if I had initially gone somewhere for some ‘me time’.

Time for Talk Day shouldn’t last a day – it should last longer, it should be every day. Spark a conversation with a stranger. Be understanding of mental health, even if you don’t get it. There may always be a stigma but don’t let yourself be the reason for it.

Mental health is an illness. It’s a life-threatening injury. You just can’t see it. But because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it’s real.

We went into Nottingham City Centre to ask people about their views as to why sufferers may avoid opening up about mental health issues:

Video Credit: Kerrie Coshan