The NHS in Leeds is encouraging people in Leeds to have open conversations about mental health in support of Time to Talk Day.
Time to Talk Day is an annual mental health campaign, which takes place on Thursday 2 February this year. The day focuses on having a safe space for friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen and have conversations about mental health.
The campaign, which is a partnership across many organisations including Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Time to Change Wales, Co-Op and more, aims to reduce stigma and encourages everyone to feel comfortable talking about mental health, whilst helping to create to supportive communities where people feel empowered to seek help when they need it.
NHS England has identified that one in four adults and one in 10 children experience mental illness, and many more of us know and care for people who do.
Adam Stewart, a Mental Health First Aider at the NHS ICB in Leeds, talks through his role and what it means to him:
“I’m a mental health first aider at the ICB in Leeds and it’s my job, like a ‘traditional’ first aider, to be there for someone if they are in a mental health crisis or emergency. This means we are there to help keep someone safe and direct them to the right health services, if needed. However, I’m a big believer that, much like with many aspects in health, if we are more aware and open about what we’re going through or need to address, then we might avoid those crises in some situations. Having a mentally healthy lifestyle / environment (home or workplace) is core to that and fostering a culture of feeling ok to talk in those settings is a key part of our role as mental health first aiders.
We hear a lot about how it’s ok to talk and that absolutely is true, but we (not just mental health first aiders but all of us) need to be there to listen to those who need to talk; you don’t have to have the solutions or even know exactly what someone is going through, sometimes being a sounding board is enough, but genuinely being there for someone is so, so important. That can start with building a relationship with someone, it can be scary to just start opening up to a possible stranger.
Anything that gets someone talking and they feel like they’re not alone, and you don’t need to be a mental health first aider to do that bit.
There are also lots of different places to get support with your mental health in Leeds and West Yorkshire. See more information below:
For more information on other mental health services please visit the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership website.