Well here we are already entering February, and this year the 1st February heralds ‘Time to Talk Day’
Although there is somewhat less stigma attached to mental illness than there was say 10 years ago, it still exists. Mental health care is still problematic, because it covers a range of ‘invisible’ illnesses. That is, if you break a leg, or have the flu or any physical illness, it is easily recognizable – visible. Conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, BPD, PTSD are not. So mental illness often gets overlooked.
‘Time to Talk Day’ and more generally, the Time to Change organisation seek to change that and continue to destigmatize mental illness. You can read a bit more about it by following this link: Time to Talk Day 2018
The first step to destigmatizing anything is to talk openly about it. So Time to Talk Day focuses on starting conversations about mental illness. Why not approach the subject over lunch with friends, coffee breaks at work – the possibilities are endless.
As well as talking to destigmatize it, the flip-side of the conversation is listening. When we listen openly rather than dismissing a subject either directly (“don’t want to talk about that.”) or indirectly (showing signs of being distracted or disinterested). Whether it’s a one to one conversation or in a group, freely-expressed dialogue is the thing that brings awareness and gradually erodes stigma. So today – Time to Talk Day – is as good a day to start as any.
You could even start the dialogue right here by adding your comments to this post! Let’s talk! Let’s listen!