Time to Talk Day: start a conversation about mental health

Thursday 1st February 2024 is Time to Talk Day, when everyone is encouraged to have a conversation about mental health.

Thursday 1st February 2024 is Time to Talk DaySpearheaded by leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with Co-op, Time to Talk Day encourages friends, families, colleagues and communities to come together to talk, listen and make positive change.

Across the UK, Time to Talk Day is delivered by different charities, including See Me in Scotland, Inspire in Northern Ireland and Time to Change Wales.

First launched in 2014, the idea behind Time to Talk Day is the more we talk about our mental health, the more we can improve and support our general wellbeing.

Time to Talk Day highlights the importance of starting a conversation about mental healthThe charities acknowledge that starting a conversation about mental health is not always easy, and that it can be difficult to reveal how you are really feeling. But the key message is that “a conversation has the power to change lives.”

Time to Talk Day is designed to help instigate those conversations.

Originally conceived as part of the campaign Time to Change, the national awareness day was also launched by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness to help end mental health stigma and discrimination.

Statistics suggest that 1 in 4 adults will experience a mental health problem each year. This equates to around 15 million people. Talking openly about mental health helps to reduce the stigma surrounding it, so that all those affected by mental health struggles feel empowered to seek help when they need it most.

Take part in Time to Talk Day

The charity partners provide free resources for schools, workplaces, youth and community groups and individuals, to help them get the most out of the day. These include posters, social media images, conversation starters, bunting and other supporting materials.

Time to Talk Day is run by charity partners across the UKPeople are encouraged to take part in Time to Talk Day and help start conversations about mental health through hosting special walks or ‘tea and talk’ and ‘lunch and learn’ events in community centres, offices and other spaces.

The dedicated Time to Talk website provides information and more ideas for community groups, sports clubs, employers, schools, colleges, universities and youth groups.

Individuals can also participate in Time to Talk Day 2024 by simply posting on social media, using the hashtag #TimeToTalk. The website includes post ideas to help get people talking about mental health.

How to start a conversation this Time to Talk Day

The site also includes some key advice for starting a conversation about mental wellbeing. Their tips include:

  1. Ask questions and listen– asking questions can give the person opportunity and encouragement to express how they’re feeling and can help you to understand their experiences better. Focus on asking open, non-judgmental questions, such as ‘how do you feel about that?’
  2. Think about the time and place– It can be easier to start a tricky conversation if you’re not sat face-to-face with the person. You could try starting a chat when you’re walking, cooking or sat in traffic.
  3. Don’t try and fix it– Talking can be a powerful tool to help someone who is experiencing poor mental wellbeing. They may not want advice and instead just want someone to listen. Recovery can be a complex and lengthy process and they may have already considered and adopted a number of strategies, so try to resist offering a quick fix ‘solution.’
  4. Treat them the same– Listen to the person, support them, but don’t treat them any differently. They are still the same person, and they want to know that you recognise that and that you can still do the same things you’ve always done together.
  5. Be patient– Although its important to try, they may simply not be ready to talk about what they’re going through, and that’s ok. They will know that they can come to you when they are ready to talk.

They also provide suggestions for ways of supporting someone if you are not able to get them talking, such as:

  • Finding something in your local community to get involved in together
  • Sending a text to let them know you’re thinking of them
  • Offering help with day-to-day tasks

While having conversations about mental health is a great thing, sometimes they can bring up sensitive and difficult subjects and feelings, and you may need to seek support. Mind offers advice about seeking help while Rethink Mental Illness can help you find support in your area.

Mental health support and training

Time to Talk Day aims to ensure more people can get support for their mental health when they need it mostMental health learning and development solutions can also play a significant role in helping people to recognise risk factors and proactively support positive mental wellbeing across the UK.

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading national training provider delivering courses in subjects such as health and safetyfirst aidfire safety, manual handling, food safetymental healthhealth and social care and more.

An accredited Mindful Employer themselves, FRT’s specialist mental health training courses include Understanding Mental HealthMental Health Awareness in the WorkplaceManaging StressAnxiety and Phobias AwarenessSelf-Harm Awareness and Suicide Awareness.

They can also provide qualified, approved trainers to deliver accredited Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training courses, including the Adult, Youth and Lite versions.

A trainer from FRT says:

“People have often avoided talking openly about their mental wellbeing, and any struggles they may be experiencing. How often do we tell people we’re ‘fine’ when it’s not really the full story, because we’re not sure if they want to know how we’re really feeling?

“This is why starting an open and honest conversation about mental health can be so powerful; people need to know that someone cares and that they are free to talk about their experiences and worries.

“Talking can really be that first all-important step to getting much-needed help and support, and training can give people the confidence and knowledge to start those conversations, and keep them going.”

Resources to support wellbeing

brief summary of our mental health training can now be downloaded as an infographic.

We also have a number of other free infographics available to download which provide simple tips for helping to manage your mental and emotional wellbeing and proactively manage your stress levels. These include:

You can also download our free Guide to Mental Health Training from our website.

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.