According to a recent survey conducted by Time to Change, two thirds of adults need someone to talk to about their mental health, finances, or relationships. The director of the campaign, Sue Baker OBE, says that more work is needed - across all services and walks of life - to break down the barriers to talking.
More than one third of the people taking part in the survey had struggled to find the right time to start a conversation, while more than one quarter had been living with their problems in silence, as they could not find the right place or people to raise their concerns with. More than one in five reported that it took them a year to find the "perfect" time to discuss the issues they were facing.
Modern life is stressful, and families face numerous issues. Coping with financial stresses and job difficulties, dealing with health issues in an aging population, and dealing with things such as relationship breakdowns and separations are all difficult. Separations in particular are a challenge that can put strain on both adults and children as the children have no-one to turn to outside of their families, and the parents are experiencing their own stresses while still trying to provide a positive environment for their kids.
It's Time to TalkConversations can make a huge difference to the quality of people's lives, regardless of when and where they take place. Whether you're at home, at work, or just driving somewhere, now is a good time to start being more open about mental health. There is still a stigma around admitting if your mental health is not "where it should be", but mental health challenges affect a huge portion of the population. Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, explained that conversation is powerful, and taking small steps to help others can contribute to a society that is better, and more mentally resilient.
It's important to be open and honest, because this will help to build trust with the person that you are talking to. Try not to put pressure on them, and remember you are not obliged to share anything if you are not comfortable. Remember, also, that even if you learn something new about a person, they are still the same friend they always were, so treat them that way.