A survey by Time To Change, a mental health anti-stigma campaign, showed that around 1 in 3 people in the East of England said they would put off speaking to a friend who is struggling with their mental health to avoid an awkward conversation.

One reason was that it made them feel uncomfortable, preferring to keep conversation ‘light headed’ when chatting, as well as not wanting to say the wrong thing.
Time to Change is urging people to stop avoiding or delaying important conversations that could change someone’s life. Elsewhere, the survey further highlighted people’s reluctance to talk about mental health in the East of England. Almost half said they would prefer not to tell anyone they were struggling with their mental health and over a third said keeping a stiff upper lip and not talking about mental health or emotion was still important.

Jo Loughran, director of Time to Change, said: “It’s not an overstatement to say that having a conversation about mental health could change someone’s life. It’s vital that we don’t avoid or delay these important conversations because of our own worries. You don’t need to have all the answers; if someone close to you is struggling, just being there will mean a lot. The more we all talk about mental health, the more we can remove the fear and awkwardness. This Time to Talk day we’re urging everyone to take action on one day when thousands of others will be doing the same and continue that conversation throughout the year.”

Time to Talk day, which was last week, February 6, was established seven years ago to encourage more open conversations about the topic of mental health. One in four people experience mental health problems and many believe talking about the issue helps to break down the stigma and discrimination that many people still face – making it easier for everyone to benefit from the support of those around them.

You can contact STS by calling 01603 592761 or emailing studentsupport@uea.ac.uk. A full list of support services available can be found here.

Alternatively you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 24-hours a day or email jo@samaritans.org