Time to talk: How to support yourself and others during the Coronavirus pandemic

By Hannah Buckland, Healthy Hearts Care Planner

Are you worried about finances after Christmas, family that you can’t visit, or friends who are unwell? Are you feeling more anxious, stressed or bored lately? Whatever thoughts or emotions you are going through right now, be assured that it is ok to feel this way. 1 in 4 of us experience mental health problems each year. Taking care of mental health and well-being is important while staying at home as a result of the Coronavirus. Staying at home, makes it more difficult for us to live a normal day-to-day life; hence, conversations about mental health are now even more important.

Mental health is a state of well-being in which we are aware of our own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of daily life, be productive at work and contribute to our community. We tend to worry more about our physical health when something goes wrong, e.g. if our cholesterol is too high, but do we worry as much or give as much attention to our mental health? If you don’t like the term mental health, then perhaps you might like to think of is as the health of our minds? It all starts with a small conversation. The more small conversations we have with one another the more we can wipe out the myths and barriers to the stigma around mental health.

Time to Talk Day on February 4th 2021, is a nationwide campaign where we can all start these small but important conversations with each other, our colleagues, friends and families. Every conversation helps towards a healthier mind. If you would like to know more about Time to Talk Day and how we can have these conversations, see this link: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/get-involved-workplace/make-impact-your-workplace/mental-health-calendar/time-to-talk

Now that we are experiencing a third lockdown, many people are understandably feeling anxious and worried. By checking in with your family, friends and colleagues, you can offer help and support to those around you – and you don’t need to be an expert on mental health to do so. Here are Time to Change‘s three top tips for supporting others during this time.

  1. Check in. Even though we are not able to meet people face-to-face at the moment, it is still possible to connect virtually. Making a phone or video call, sending a message or connecting with someone on social media lets them know you are there for them.
  2. Listen and reflect. It is important to remember that, if someone opens up to you, it is not necessary to find a solution to their problems or worries. Just listening and being there for them can help them to manage what they are going through.
  3. Ask questions. Asking how someone is managing in the current situation can help them to open up and explore how they are feeling. Show interest and understanding for why they feel the way they do.

By using these three top tips, you can contribute to Time to Talk Day by helping to get people talking about mental health. Remember, every conversation, no matter how small, has the power to make a big difference. And the more conversations we have, the closer we will come to ending mental health stigma and discrimination.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health advice or information in relation to Covid-19, there are resources available.

Take a look at the websites of Time to Change’s partners, Mind (https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/) and Rethink (https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/covid-19-support/).

References

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/coronavirus

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/

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