Highland Council supports Time to Talk Day, UK's biggest mental health conversation
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People in the Highlands are being encouraged to take part in Time to Talk Day, described as the UK’s biggest mental health conversation.
Taking place today, the aim is to encourage friends, families, communities and workplaces to come together to talk, listen – and maybe even change lives.
It is being supported by Highland Council which says anyone can struggle with their mental health and by being open and honest, everyone can contribute to changing the conversation around mental health and ensure that everyone feels supported.
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Councillor David Fraser, chairman of the health, social care and wellbeing committee, said: "We should never underestimate the ability to change lives by simply being there for others and offering your time to talk and listen.
"It’s important people throughout Highland know where to find help and support for their own mental health and wellbeing when it is needed.
"Over the past few years there has been increased awareness of the importance of looking after our own mental health and wellbeing.
"However, we still face stigma challenges and whilst it’s important 365 days of the year to prioritise your own mental health, Time to Talk Day acts as a reminder to us of the importance of kindness and the impact that open and honest dialogue with friends, family and work colleagues can have by simply checking in on others and talking."
He said those we know best are often the first to recognise the signs of declining mental health but may not be the person whom they felt comfortable sharing their thoughts with but there were many other ways to reach out for support.
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 does not 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.
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 Scottish Association for Mental Health and The Mental Health Foundation.
For information visit Highland Mental Wellbeing.
If you are concerned about someone else do not be afraid to ask if they are okay and support them to get help.
People can also call Samaritans on 116 123 or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.