Published Thursday, 04 February 2021
One in four people experience a mental health problem in any given year.
Health and care partners in Coventry and Warwickshire are using Time to Talk Day (Thursday 4 February) to remind residents that a small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference, especially during these challenging times.
Research shows that people are often afraid to talk about their mental health experiences because they fear the response and stigma they may receive. However, open, direct and honest conversations can break down barriers, helping to end the isolation, shame and worthlessness that too many people feel when experiencing a mental health problem.
The theme for 2021 is ‘The power of small’ and there is no better time to talk about mental health, show support to those that need it and promote better wellbeing for everyone.
Anyone worried about someone that might be struggling with the demands of life or finding things particularly hard during the pandemic, and not sure how to approach a conversation can get help via the Dear Life website: www.dearlife.org.uk. The resource was been created by partners to help people find the tools to maintain and improve their wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. It offers a wealth of information about where to get help in a crisis, advice on how to maintain good mental health and ways to support others in need. You can also tell your story and help other reduce the stigma around mental health and asking for help on the blog section of the website.
It is important that during these challenging times we pay close attention to our own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of those around us. There are five steps that individuals and communities can take to improve mental health and build wellbeing and kindness into daily life at a time of social distancing and staying at home. These are the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and include connect, keep learning, be active, give and take notice.
Supportive tools like the Stay Alive app, a free suicide prevention pocket resource, can also help individuals that are struggling to cope. It contains tips and practical steps to help support someone feeling suicidal as well as local mental health and suicide prevention information.
To talk to a professional today, call Coventry and Warwickshire’s local mental health helpline for free on 0800 616 171, provided by Mental Health Matters. Helpline staff can provide emotional support for residents including:
Coventry City Council Councillor Kamran Caan, portfolio holder for Public Health and Wellbeing said: “Time to Talk day is so important and focuses on conversations having the power to change lives. This can help to end isolation in communities and bring people together, breaking down the stigma and shame that many of us feel when experiencing a mental health problem, especially during such challenging times. Today we want the whole city to have a mental health conversation.”
Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for Adult Social Care & Health, Councillor Les Caborn, said: “Our physical and mental wellbeing are both extremely important, particularly for helping us to cope with the many challenges of lockdown. Warwickshire County Council is supporting residents to look after their wellbeing by taking part in Time to Talk day.
‘These are trying times for us all, and it is important now more than ever to find ways to lead healthy, happy and independent lives. A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference. If you are worried about someone, talk to them and truly listen to their response and remember, support is always available across the county for people who need it.
‘Look after yourselves and your loved ones, be safe and remember: stay home and save lives.”
Anne Prendergast, lead officer for clinical risk and suicide prevention at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “People’s wellbeing is important every day; however Time to Talk is an opportunity to highlight the importance of wellbeing and an opportunity to emphasise the vital support available.
“There are simple steps we can all do daily to improve our wellbeing both physically and mentally. Start with a small conversation with someone you trust about your mental health as well as checking with them about theirs. Exercise and eating healthily plays an important part on our body and is important for both our mental and physical wellbeing.
“Our mental health services are still here for people in Coventry and Warwickshire. The pandemic and the lockdowns that we’ve had to live through have undoubtedly had an impact on people’s mental health. Therefore, it has never been more important to seek help - please don’t suffer in silence, come forward for mental health care.”
The following local and national mental health support and helplines are also available: