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9 Simple ways to celebrate Time to Talk Day in your workplace

Updated: Jan 3

Time to Talk Day falls on the first Thursday of February each year, and its 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:

1. Visit the Time to Talk Day website

The Time to Talk Day website has a whole host of information, resources and ideas for how to run your own Time to Talk Day, including posters, digital assets, conversation starters, and activity ideas. You can customise and download posters and electronic resources to help announce the day and make a big splash.

2. 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, or post them on your Teams or Slack channels 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 and what do you think's been most effective?

  • What do you do to take care of your mental health?

  • What are your favourite books or films that explore mental health?

  • What's the best mental health advice you've been given?

3. 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 a 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... they come for the cake, and leave feeling a little more comfortable about mental health.

A dozen chocolate cupcakes with cream icing
Invite your team to join you for cake or biscuits and a cup of tea, and take the opportunity to start the conversation.

4. Online hangouts for remote workers

If you have people working remotely who can't join you for cake, host some online hangouts throughout the day or week to allow people to 'down tools' and connect. Depending on your team's culture, these could be structured with specific questions or an icebreaker activity, or a more relaxed space to chat about whatever crops up.


5. Mindful Moments

Mindfulness is an effective way of supporting mental health, and it doesn't need any special equipment or skills so it's accessible to all. Schedule short, guided meditation or mindfulness exercises throughout the day to help employees de-stress and refocus. There's a wealth of free online resources and mobile apps that offer guided meditations from 2 minutes to 2 hours or more. Our favourites are the Headspace YouTube channel and the Balance app. You might even find someone in your team who has experience guiding mindfulness sessions.

6. Book Swap for Mental Wellbeing

Knowledge is power when it comes to looking after your mental health, and there's a lot of power to be found in books. You could encourage employees to bring in pre-loved books related to mental health, self-care, or personal development. Set up a swap meet during Time to Talk Day, allowing everyone to exchange books and discover new resources. You could even set up a small library space where people can return the books when they're done ready for someone else to benefit.


people walking in a park away from the camera. They walk on a dirt path beside large trees with the distant sun making their shadows long
Movement and exercise are really important for your mental health.

7. Walk and Talk

Movement and exercise are really important for your mental health. The combination of exercise-related endorphins, vitamin D from the sun, and being in nature creates a triple-whammy of good stuff for mental wellbeing. Invite your colleagues on a group walk during lunch or after work, and encourage conversations about mental health while enjoying some fresh air and exercise.


8. Wall of Encouragement

Set up a designated wall where employees can anonymously leave positive messages, quotes, or tips for self-care and mental wellbeing. To get started, you could invite everyone to leave one quote, motto, or piece of advice that's really helped them in the past. Now when anyone walks past, they'll be greeted with a host of positive messages to give them a boost.


9. Learning opportunities 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? If you do want to provide more formal training, talk to us about our stress training for line managers which always gets rave reviews.


Here are some free resources to get you started:

  • There are 6 recorded webinars in the Mental Health at Work Commitment: webinar series run by Mind for employers to help manage mental health in the workplace. They're all just under an hour and include topics such as "Prioritise mental health in the workplace by delivering a systematic programme of activity", and "Promote an open culture around mental health".

  • The Time to Talk Day website has a page dedicated to support for employers with links to information and resources.

  • The Prince's Responsible Business Network has a Mental Health for Employers Toolkit to help organisations take actionable steps to support employee mental health. They also provide several other health and wellbeing employer toolkits.

  • Mental Health First Aid England also has this resource for line managers.

Remember:

  • Create a safe and inclusive environment. Ensure conversations are confidential and respectful of everyone's experiences.

  • Promote resources and support. Share information about internal or external mental health resources available to employees.

  • Keep the conversation going beyond Time to Talk Day. Integrate mental health awareness into your broader company culture and encourage ongoing dialogue.

These are just a handful of ways you can make a difference and get your team involved - look at the Time to Talk Day website for more ideas and inspiration to find what works for your organisation.


 

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Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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