Time to Talk Day was launched in 2014 by Time to Change, a campaign to end mental health stigma and discrimination. This day draws attention to mental health and the importance of reaching out to others by creating supportive communities and having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about how we are feeling, without the fear and stigma often attached to the topic.
During the 1800s, people were placed in mental facilities and often forgotten by society, they rarely received the help that they actually needed. Many women were misdiagnosed for actions unrelated to mental illnesses based on their gender and lack of information regarding the subject. Mental health was recognised and shifted when a writer named Nelly Bly wanted to gain an understanding of mental health and the factors that affect it, so she went undercover inside a mental institution, posing as a mentally ill person. She wrote about the improper treatment she experienced in a series of articles, and as a result, the institution she wrote about was reformed. It was only up until the 1930s when experts wanted to understand the reasons that drove people to insanity. Sigmund Freud developed theories delving deeper into the psyche of those deemed as mad and felt the responsibility to help them rather than leaving them to be mistreated by society. However, his theories were not well received or effective at the time. Perceptions and understanding of mental health have changed a lot over the years. Experts have better knowledge of the causes and how to treat those who are suffering, however there are still many misconceptions attached top the subject the public has yet to fully reconcile with.
Statistics show that mental health problems affect one in four of us - making it likely that you or someone in your life will be affected at some point, in addition to 9 in 10 people who say they have faced negative treatment from others as a result. Due to the fear of judgement many are apprehensive to open up about how they are feeling and keep everything bottled up.
How can you support your staff this Time To Talk Day:
Encourage your employees to feel that they can be open about their mental health, and in a confidential way if that is what they choose
Encourage them to ask for help if they need it
Making efforts to make the workplace a healthier and happier environment
Circulating information about the support options available - this may include access to Occupational Health, an employee assistant programme, or some other form of counselling
Offering 'Mental Health Days' and/or 'Duvet Days'
Having clear policies in relation to discrimination and stigma which may arise in relation to an employee with mental health issues
Providing training to HR and managers so that they are better equipped to support their team
Research shows that having open conversations about mental health can change lives for the better, when people feel heard and listened to. Creating a positive workplace culture is crucial, when employees feel supported in the workplace you can often see a boost in productivity and team cohesion.
Wellity is here to support you and your organisation during Time to Talk Day and all year round! For more information on the workplace wellbeing training titles we offer around this subject. Contact the Wellity team on firstname.lastname@example.org.