We don't want to be melodramatic, but last year was Quite A Weird Year. And almost everybody we know, in one way or another, to some degree or another, has been experiencing the fallout of that, whether that's been on their physical health, their work-life balance, their relationships — and often with an impact on their mental health.
In good news, though, the government seems confident that mental health problems (see also: stigmatisation of; discrimination against) are going to be solved by March, which is when they're ending funding for Time To Change.
The anti-stigma campaign — led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness — will close as a result, after 15 years of work challenging the attitudes towards and isolation often experienced by people living with mental health problems.
We're stoked for this golden age of mental wellbeing ahead — start date: Q2 2021 — if a bit surprised that it's due to kick in at the same time as increasingly rampant poverty, enforced isolation, a huge spike in domestic abuse, enormous and unprecedented pressures on parents/carers/children/students/the elderly/the employed/the unemployed, and, you know, a pandemic.
So on the tiny chance that actually, actually, elements of 2021 might be not that great, for a lot of people, and that the funding cuts just indicate an unsettling governmental shift away from acknowledging mental health services as a necessity rather than a luxury: this is a really important time for us all to get good at checking in with friends, loved ones, colleagues — anybody and everybody, tbf — and normalise talking about our mental health.
One of the ways you can learn more about how to start those conversations is through Time To Talk Day, the annual event from Time To Change aimed at encouraging everybody to talk more openly about mental health.
Time To Talk Day this year is on Thursday, 4 February. It's focused on highlighting the importance of having open conversations about mental health, and encouraging the nation to talk, to listen, and hopefully to change lives for the better.
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Jo Loughran, Director of Time To Change, says
It’s easy to think we haven’t got the power to make a change. But lots of ‘small’ conversations can add up to a big difference in tackling the stigma and discrimination too many people still experience because of their mental health.
This year, we know that many people are struggling with the restrictions on our lives, so on Time to Talk Day, we’re hosting a virtual festival: a day of online activities that anyone can join from home... Each event or activity will inspire the audience to have their own conversation about mental health on Time to Talk Day.
The line up for the virtual festival will be announced in the coming days. The TTC website's also hosting advice, downloadable resources and activity packs to help get people talking.
Other resources in the meantime
- Time To Change have some tips for how to check in with people about their mental health here.
- The Mind and Rethink websites both host a lot of resources, advice and contact details for organisations who can help support you, if you or somebody you know is struggling with their mental health.
- Good Thinking is an NHS-approved collection of digital mental health resources for London.
- And we'll be doing our best here at Londonist in coming months to share important mental health resources, and normalise the conversation about mental health by sharing our own stories and other people's.
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