Time to Talk Day falls on Thursday 7th February this year, and it's purpose is to get us all talking about mental health and breaking the stigma. 1 in 4 people will suffer with a mental health problem this year - that means you're more than likely to know someone at work, in your family, or one of your friends who is struggling. Being open and confident about talking about mental health is the first step to helping yourself and those around you deal with those mental health problems.
But how can employers and workplaces help start the conversation?
Here are some simple steps you can take to celebrate Time to Talk Day in your workplace:
Visit the Time to Change website
Time to Change has a whole host of information, resources and ideas for how to run your own Time to Talk Day, including a "Conversation Pack for Employers" with ideas for activities and getting your team involved. You can customise and download posters, bunting and electronic resources to help announce the day and make a big splash.
Use conversation starters
Not everyone is comfortable talking about mental health - but it doesn't have to be awkward and personal. Put posters or prompt cards around your workplace posing questions to get the conversation started. Here are four to give you some ideas:
How do you think your view of mental health has changed over the last ten years?
How do you think stigmas around mental health are being broken down? What do you think's been most effective?
What do you do to try and take care of your mental health?
What are your favourite books or films that explore mental health?
Cake as a weapon for positive change
No, cake isn't the healthiest option, but on special occasions a treat can be allowed. Invite your team to join you for cake or biscuits and a cup of tea, and take the opportunity to start the conversation. Play a video, take the mental health quiz together and talk about the outcomes, use questions as conversation starters, or let them know about the support available to them at work... the come for the cake, and leave feeling a little more comfortable about mental health.
Invite your team to join you for cake or biscuits and a cup of tea, and take the opportunity to start the conversation.
Learning opportunity for line managers
Time to Talk Day is about making it easier to have conversations - so use it as a platform to help expand the knowledge of your managers and better equip them to understand and support mental health at work. There are plenty of free resources available online if you don't have the budget for formal training. Why not ask each manager to commit to watching a webinar, or reading a guide on a topic related to mental health and wellbeing before the end of the week?
Here are some free resources to get you started:
There are 3 recorded webinars on the Mind website for employers to help manage mental health in the workplace. they're all under an hour
The Time to Change website has a page dedicated to support for employers with links to information and resources - it also talks about the Time to Change Employer Pledge which might be something your organisation could consider
The Prince's Responsible Business Network has a guide for employers on developing resilience in the workplace
And another toolkit about managing presenteeism
Mental Health First Aid England also has this resource for line managers
Online message board for remote workers
If you have people working remotely who can't join you for cake and presentations, start a conversation online. Do you have an intranet or online platform you can use like Microsoft Teams or Facebook Workplace? Post your conversation starters there and encourage your team to respond. Use the platform to share information about mental health and resources to help them...all the information you would share with your office based team.
These are just a handful of ways you can make a difference and get your team involved - look at the Time to Change website for more ideas and inspiration to find what works for your organisation.
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