07 Feb Today’s the day to talk about Mental Health
Written by Katherine Selby, Account Director
Working in the wonderful world of PR, I’m no stranger to the ‘National Day’ phenomenon – just this month, if the fun listings are to be believed, we have National Pistachio Day, National Walking The Dog Day, National Tortilla Chip Day and, of course, Groundhog Day. All entertaining enough but now I have your attention let me tell you that today, Thursday February 7, 2019 is #TimeToTalk Day.
Time to Change
It is brought to us by @TimeToChange, a growing social movement working to end mental health discrimination by changing the way we think and act about mental health problems.
Mental Health awareness is, thankfully, enjoying an increasing amount of attention but not before time. Statistically, one in four of us will fight a mental health problem in any given year. Mental ill-health doesn’t discriminate: it can affect anyone. A huge problem with mental ill-health is the stigma attached to it which makes people wary of admitting their problem – especially in the workplace – as they fear the consequences. Time To Change highlights that mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing an average of £1,035 per employee per year. Ironically, 95% of employees calling in sick with stress gave a different reason – is that through embarrassment, shame, fear or simply thinking they won’t be taken seriously or understood?
Time To Change is looking to change things in the workplace by asking businesses to sign an Employer Pledge. This is not a quick tick box exercise – it’s an absolute commitment to change how employers think and act about mental health in the workplace to support their staff. More than 900 employers have signed the pledge so far from start-ups to FTSE 100 companies to Government departments. Among them is our inspirational client Active IQ – which has worked tirelessly to develop a Mental Health First Aid qualification to help people understand mental health issues and learn how to spot the symptoms and signpost to help.
People are talking more about mental health these days but, despite growing awareness, misunderstanding and stigma remain. You may like to test your own knowledge with this quick 15-question quiz.
Meanwhile, let me leave you with this thought. Like National Walking The Dog Day, #TimeToTalk day should be EVERY day. Starting today. Check out https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/ for support on how to start a conversation at work or at home with colleagues, friends and family. They, like I, will thank you for listening.