New figures, released on Time to Talk Day (Today, 1 February), reveal two thirds (63%*) of people in Wales feel they have no one to talk to when it comes to personal conversations on topics such as mental health, money problems and relationships. When asked why, the top reasons were: never being able to find the right time, or the right place.
The independent survey of over 2,500 UK adults was commissioned to mark Time to Talk Day, a nation-wide push to get people talking more openly about mental health. The data reveals that many people are missing out on support from those around them, simply because they cannot find the ‘perfect’ time and place to open up.
This year marks the fifth Time to Talk Day and the theme is Right time, Any Place providing everyone with the perfect chance to be more open about mental health – whatever they are doing on the day.
Time to Talk Day was created in recognition of the fact that people talking and sharing their experiences can change the attitudes of those around them. This year, Time to Talk Day will cover all four nations of the UK with mental health anti-stigma campaigns working in partnership with Time to Change Wales: Time to Change in England, See Me in Scotland and Change Your Mind in Northern Ireland.
Thousands of conversations about mental health are expected to take place this Time to Talk Day in Wales, with events being held across the nation in organisations ranging from schools and universities to fire services and banks.
A huge conversation will take place on social media on the day using the hashtag #TimetoTalk and #AmseriSiarad in Welsh.
Lowri Smith, from Cardiff, experiences problems with her mental health related to anxiety and has found that speaking about mental health problems helps you realise how common they are:
“When you isolate yourself in your own mind you can be fooled into thinking that all the thoughts you have are weird and “not normal”. It’s only since sharing my story that I have realised I am not alone in this. I think the greatest barrier to being open with our mental health is that somewhere along the way we have been fooled into thinking that living with mental health issues is uncommon. It is not uncommon. The more you open up and have the courage to speak out, the more you will connect with people and realise many people are fighting similar battles to you.”
Stephen Lewis from Clydach has severe anxiety and depression and thought he was alone in how he was feeling until he spoke more openly about it:
“I spent many years thinking I was the only one who felt this way and was too scared to talk to anyone. I didn’t even know how to talk! Then one day I told a friend how I was feeling and I realised there are lots of people who feel like me and just need someone to ask ‘How are you?’
“Now I run and attend to peer support groups where everyone talks, listens, cries and even laughs about all things mental health. There are no awkward conversations because there’s always someone who can relate to how we feel.”
Lowri Wyn Jones, Programme Manager of Time to Change Wales, said:
“The survey findings show that people still think there is no right time or place to talk about mental health. Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated and ashamed and we all need to talk more openly to help end this stigma. Conversations have the power to change lives, wherever they take place. So whether you’re at home, at work, in the cinema, or even on the top of a mountain, Time to Talk Day is the perfect chance to be more open about mental health.”
Join in the conversation online using the hashtag #timetotalk
*Research was conducted by Censuswide, who surveyed 2,671 adults aged 16+ in the UK and commissioned by Time to Change