The 6th February 2020 is Time to Talk Day. This is an awareness day run by Time to Change encouraging us all to be more open about mental health – whether we talk about it or listen to others.
Talking about mental health isn’t easy. For a very long time I kept my mental health a secret. For over ten years I hid my worries, my low mood, my urges to self-harm and my suicidal thoughts to myself. I thought I was a weirdo, stupid and wrong for feeling the way I did. There was a part of me, a big part, that I was keeping secret. Keeping my anxiety and depression a secret was actually adding to my stress. It wasn’t making my mental health problems go away and it wasn’t making them any easier to live with. My New Years Resolution for 2017 was to open up more about my mental health. Since then I’ve blogged, written articles, organised events and started my own business. I share my story, my experiences and my knowledge to fight stigma, raise awareness, increase understanding and help others.
There’s a widely quoted statistic that 1 in 4 of us will experience mental illness. But what I think is important to remember is that we all have mental health – whether it’s good, whether it’s bad or somewhere in the middle we all have mental health just like we all have physical health. The more I open up about mental health and the more I introduce myself as a Wellbeing Advocate the more mental health conversations I have. Sometimes you have to be the brave one to start the conversation and making yourself open to that talk.
It is important to find the right person to open up to. There is still a lot of people who know very little about mental health and think that it doesn’t apply to them. Mental health is a difficult, confusing and scary thing to understand. This confusion can lead to fear, stereotypes and stigma. You could open up to the wrong person and face this stigma. If you want to start talking about mental health make sure you choose a kind, open minded person who you think will listen. The more we talk about mental health the more we can challenge stigma, increase awareness and knowledge.