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Time to Talk Day 2023

January 24, 2023
4 minute read

Time to Talk Day – 2/2/23- is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation. Happening every year, it’s a day for friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen and change lives.

Time to Talk Day 2023 is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with the Co-op and with support from Time To Change Wales, See Me and Change Your Mind / Inspire. Click here for more details: Time To Talk Day - Time To Talk Day

Talking about mental health isn’t aways easy, but a conversation has the power to change lives. As leaders in the early years, we are in a position to make a difference to the mental health and wellbeing of our staff teams. This doesn’t mean we need to be a counsellor or expert on mental health. We just need to care, listen and have the resources available to enable us to sign post team members for support as and when required.

So in our leadership roles, how can we support mental health by making time to talk? The guys at Time to Talk offer us the following tips!

  1. Ask questions and listen

Asking questions can give the person space to express how they’re feeling and what they’re going through, and it will help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgmental, like “how does that affect you?” or “what does it feel like?”

  • Think about the time and place

Sometimes it’s easier to talk side by side rather than face to face. So, if you do talk in person, you might want to chat while you are doing something else. You could start a conversation when you’re walking, cooking or stuck in traffic. However, don’t let the search for the perfect place put you off!

  • Don't try and fix it

It can be hard to see someone you care about having a difficult time but try to resist the urge to offer quick fixes to what they’re going through. Learning to manage or recover from a mental health problem can be a long journey, and they’ve likely already considered lots of different tools and strategies. Just talking can be really powerful, so unless they’ve asked for advice directly, it might be best just to listen.

  • Treat them the same

When someone has a mental health problem, they’re still the same person as they were before. And that means when a friend or loved one opens up about mental health, they don’t want to be treated any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you’d normally do.

  • Be patient

No matter how hard you try, some people might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through. That’s ok – the fact that you’ve tried to talk to them about it may make it easier for them to open up another time.

And there are lots of things you can do to support them even if you’re not talking:

• Find things in your community to get involved in together
• Sending a text to let them know you’re thinking of them
• Offering to help with day-to-day tasks

In early years, we are all generally a caring bunch, working in a stressful and demanding environment. Taking time out to talk together, share our thoughts and build those relationships can be a huge step in supporting mental health and wellbeing.

Of course, this can all be stressful for you as a leader too! Who do you talk to and turn to when you need support?

It is essential that you develop strategies to find the guidance you need when you need it. This could be talking to your deputy or setting owner. Or perhaps you can network with other settings in your area and build relationships with other setting leaders who you can talk to? Perhaps you work with us here at The Early Years Company and could talk to your coach?

Talking and listening about mental health has the power to change lives. Each conversation we have contributes to reducing mental health stigma, helping to create supportive settings where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we need it.

Its Ok To Not Be Ok

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