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Time To Talk - By Subitha Baghirathan, CASS

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

We have journeyed together through a year when our physical health has been given so much attention and ‘air time’.

  • Is that a new cough?

  • Have you lost your sense of smell?

  • What’s your temperature?

Unfortunately, most of us don’t pay as much attention as often to our emotional wellbeing or mental health nor discuss it with others. Time to Talk Day is an annual awareness day that encourages us to do exactly that. There are many helpful tips and resources to give us the confidence to ask someone how they are feeling and share how we are feeling in the process.

The team at Time to Change are as passionate as we are at CASS to remove the stigmas around mental ill-health. What we hope for is that soon we could tell a family member, friend or colleague that we are experiencing depression or panic attacks just as openly as we can say that we have a cold or back ache. Some ways to start asking someone how they are feeling could be:

  • Quite a few people feel a bit flat in January. How is the month going so far for you?

  • Has anything made you smile recently? Has anything felt difficult?

Don’t worry too much about the words to use. The most important thing is showing someone you are interested to hear how they are really feeling by giving them time and your attention. This does not mean sitting across from them with a full beam stare, though. Many conversations on emotional health flow easier when we are doing something together like going for a walk, or are side-by-side in a car. It’s not about offering solutions but rather the powerful act of listening.

Time to Talk Day 2021 falls on 4 February when we will particularly be celebrating the ‘Power of Small’. Small actions do often have big impact including on boosting emotional wellbeing. You may know a neighbour has not been able to visit their Dad in a care home for many months. Don’t be afraid to ask how he is, and how they are feeling. If you are in a low mood, telling a friend through a text message, or over the telephone often helps, with the added benefit that the friend may feel pleased that you trusted them with your feelings. These acts of connecting are one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing that don’t require lots of time, money or training to include in our daily lives.

Subitha Baghirathan

Community Access Support Service (CASS)

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