News News Time to Talk By Anna Ware, Director of Strategy and Engagement I have followed the social movement Time to Change since I was a champion back in 2009 (see the below photo!). Since then, Time to Change has worked tirelessly to improve attitudes and reduce stigma for people with mental health problems. They myth bust, encourage dialogue and help you support people you know. They are also leading Time to Talk Day, today the 4th February, an opportunity for all of us to start talking and share stories about mental health. The idea is that small conversations can make a big difference, breaking down the feeling of shame or isolation and reducing the fear and misunderstanding of what it’s like to have a mental illness. This is even more important today than ever before. As we all struggle with aspects of the pandemic, the needs of our clients and the way we work with them has changed a lot over the last year. We support some of the most vulnerable people in the community, those who have fled persecution and war, EU citizens who have fallen through the gaps and modern-day slavery victims. Not being able to see these groups face to face has had a huge impact, and we are seeing a rise in mental health problems for both our staff and our clients. We’ve invested in wellbeing training for all our staff and are about to certify our first Mental Health First Aiders. As Time to Talk Day emphasises, it’s the small things that can make a difference, so we are having regular conversations and check ins with our teams, and we’re increasing staff feedback opportunities. For our clients, we’ve been working hard to reach out to as many clients as possible. Some of the projects include sourcing mobile phones and data for the most vulnerable, sending out activity packs, and working with mental health helplines to ensure our clients can get help in their own language. We’ve got more staff on the frontline than ever before, targeting areas where people are most in need. And we will keep on trying. Today, take the Time to Talk. Ask a colleague how they are, share your experiences of mental health and open up that conversation. It affects us all. Small steps can make a big difference to ending the stigma around mental health.