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Friday, February 3, 2023

Highland Council Supports Time to Talk Day

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Time to Talk Day is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation.

Taking place on Thursday 3 February 2022, it’s the day to encourage friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen, and maybe even change lives.

We all have mental health and any of us could struggle with it, which is why talking about mental health is so important.

We hope that 2022 offers an opportunity to re-connect with family, friends and colleagues.

By choosing to be open about mental health, we are all helping to contribute to changing the conversation around mental health and ensuring that everyone feels supported.

Those we know best are often the first to recognise the signs of declining mental health but may not be the person whom you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts with and that’s okay as there are many other ways to reach out for support.

Highland Community Planning Partnership has a dedicated Mental Health and Wellbeing Delivery group which signposts individuals and communities to trusted sources of support for mental health and wellbeing including where to get help in a crisis; resources and weblinks to support our mental wellbeing; and learning tools to build skills and confidence in having conversations about mental health and suicide prevention.

There is a ‘Prevent Suicide’ app which allows users to complete a ‘Prevent Suicide’ safety plan and can be completed with the help of a trained listener or with a friend or family member.

It also includes telephone numbers for local and national helplines which can offer support in some situations where people are feeling distressed or suicidal and there is guidance on what members of the public can do to help someone, they suspect is feeling suicidal.

Highland Community Planning Partnership Chair, Cllr Alasdair Christie said:

“We fully support the time to talk day on Thursday 3 February 2022, we should never underestimate the ability to change lives by simply being there for others and offering your time to talk and importantly listen.

“The impact of COVID-19 and the measures placed to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 has increased isolation and loneliness for many people and contributed to a decline in peoples mental health.

“It’s important people throughout Highland know where to find help and support for their own mental health and wellbeing when it is needed.

“We are optimistic that 2022, will offer us all the opportunity to talk to more people, reconnect with loved ones, meet up for a catch-up and to enjoy a hobby.”

A few handy tips to consider when it’s time to talk and listen:

Be there to offer non-judgemental advice and to listen.

Avoid using cliché phrases such as ‘it will pass’ or ‘just need to occupy your time’.

Avoid arguments and confrontation.

Offer to help in any way you can.

Help out with practical things such as shopping, cleaning, looking after children, collecting medication.

Allow family/friend space and time if they need it, don’t overcrowd them.

Don’t show concern or fear through your body language.

Encourage them to seek professional advice when they feel ready.

Be direct and don’t patronise.

Remember that mental illness doesn’t solely define a person.

Do your own research and seek professional guidance, so you can offer more practical support and are better able to deal with the situation you face.

Conversations have the power to change lives, helping to create supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we need it.

Let’s all play our part and have a conversation about mental health this Time to Talk Day!

Time to Talk Day is organised by See Me a programme to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination.

Funded by Scottish Government and managed by SAMH and The Mental Health Foundation.

For more information click here.

To download the Prevent Suicide app click here

If you, or someone you know needs support in relation to suicide, you can also call Samaritans on 116 123 or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.

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