Mental health issues affect many in this country, yet people often prefer not to talk about them. This culture of silence exacerbates mental health conditions instead of making things better. As part of the Time to Change campaign, the ‘Time to Talk Day‘ on Thursday 4 February 2016 is meant to initiate these often unspoken conversations, writes Stef Hackney

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Photo credit: Flickr @Brendan Biele

Mental health issues inflict one in four people annually and have been recognised as a nationwide concern. Yet, fearing negative repercussions from society, people affected by mental health issues often prefer not to talk about them. They fear that talking about things might affect their jobs or relationships. The ‘Time to Talk Day’ will take place on Thursday 4 February 2016 in order to get as many people as possible across England talking about mental health. The idea of this day is to bring people together under one umbrella to break the silence and challenge the taboos that often prevent people from raising their issues in society. The day will encourage people to speak out on issues pertaining to mental health and establish that talking about them does not need to be difficult. With innumerable individuals and a plethora of organisations speaking out, the day is intended to create a huge impact and highlight the impending need to talk about mental health. As people come together to break the culture of silence, the nation will break the misconceptions around mental health.

The Time to Change campaign intends to facilitate general and accessible conversations about various aspects of mental health. By invoking simple conversations of everyday life, people can be urged to think about how mental health issues might affect them, their loved ones or even the people they interact with. Organisations can focus their conversations by creating awareness of the issue and by spreading knowledge about what support is available for employees and staff wellbeing. This will be widely shared in various platforms through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, websites and the LSE intranet.

The Student Wellbeing Service in collaboration with the LSE Student Union and Residential Services will be running the eighth wellbeing stall on Thursday 4 February from 10.30am to 3pm. This will coincide with the 2016 ‘Time to Change, Time to Talk Day’. People will be asked to think of all the aspects that get in the way of looking after their wellbeing and the things they can do to overcome the obstacles. The stall will be giving out free tea, coffee, biscuits, chocolates, fruit and sweets to any passers-by. Leaflets will be distributed, offering tips on how to seek peer support and how to maintain mental wellbeing at work. There will also be free 10-minute chair massages for students, provided by Ali from the Student Union. The stall will be staffed by the Disability and Wellbeing Service, the Student Union, Residential Services and Student Counselling, as well as by peer supporters, in order to promote an end to discrimination based on mental health.

Stef Hackney is a mental health and wellbeing advisor in the LSE Teaching and Learning Centre.

The Student Wellbeing Service is dedicated to help LSE students improve their wellbeing while studying at LSE.