Starting on World Mental Health Day (10 October), Nottinghamshire YMCA is urging people to ‘break the silence’ over mental health by initiating small but meaningful conversations with friends and colleagues as part of a new ‘Small Talks, Big Difference’ initiative.
To help people open up about mental health challenges, the charity is asking people to take just 15-30mins out of their day during the week of 10-15 October for a ‘Tea Talk’. This involves grabbing a coffee/beverage of choice(!) or a bite to eat with a friend, colleague, family member or someone who you trust. Chats don’t necessarily need to be mental health centric if you would prefer to speak about other topics – this is simply a chance to boost your wellbeing by taking the time to talk and listen to another person.
Social isolation inspired by the coronavirus pandemic has created an enormous impact upon the mental stability of our entire society over the past 18 months. Yet, speaking openly about these issues can still feel like an extremely daunting prospect. Too often people can disappear into their own life bubbles – but connectivity is our mental wellbeing’s greatest ally.
Everything stops for tea!
This campaign’s aim is to highlight what a big difference small talks can make to a person’s wellbeing, in addition to nurturing social environments for future generations in which asking for help and discussing issues relating to mental health are comfortable, natural practices.
Tea Talks are therefore a fantastic way of encouraging people to check in regularly, creating a vital support network of individuals to help lighten the load, not just on World Mental Health Day, but all year round.
How to host a Tea Talk
Step 1: Choose a friend, colleague, relative or someone who you trust;
Step 2: Pick an time/date and invite them for a cup of tea – this can be at your favourite coffee shop or home if you want more privacy to discuss sensitive issues;
Step 3: Kick-start the conversation – if you’re unsure how to start, why not ease in by talking about the value of the mental health campaign itself before segueing into asking if there is anything playing on your friend’s mind lately;
Step 4: Enjoy your tea and tasty treats (whatever they may be!) and take a moment to appreciate the importance of good company away from life’s worries;
Step 5: Stay connected! Just because the Tea Talk ends, it doesn’t mean you have to stop talking. Why not make your catch-up a regular occurrence or set-up a WhatsApp group to ensure you and your friends always feel supported when problems arise.
YMCA has devised a simple ‘T.A.L.K’ plan to kick things off:
- Take the time to engage and check in with those around you;
- Ask twice about how they are feeling to break through the common ‘I’m fine’ response;
- Learn to listen by being patient and don’t cut people off;
- Keep it up: Don’t stop after one chat, keep checking in with each other.
Removing the mental health stigma
Simon Brighty, Group Mission and Marketing Executive Director at Nottinghamshire YMCA, said: “Mental health means different things to different people, but a resounding and uniting element is the need for support, openness, and continued work to remove the stigma from what is often one of the most debilitating challenges affecting so many people in our community right now.
“Small Talks is about removing barriers and breaking the silence, and we are proud to be promoting this campaign for our staff members, young service users and wider community to help them feel fulfilled as individuals so they can belong, contribute and thrive.
“By taking the time to have these conversations and ensure that we all make ourselves available to listen, every one of us can have a positive impact on the mental health of those around us.“
Did you know… YMCAs connect almost 72,000 young people with a helping hand or someone to talk to about their worries, offering specialist guidance and practical skills to best equip them to overcome whatever challenges they may face so they can build a brighter future.
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