Urge a discussion on mental health among those in the northeast

Time to Talk Day is on Thursday, February 1 and See Me, Scotland’s project to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination is inviting everyone to start this.

In advance of the big day next month, the project is inviting Scots to consider ways in which they may initiate conversations around mental health stigma, particularly in places of employment, communities, schools, and universities, as well as with friends and family.

The largest discussion on mental health stigma in the UK is held on Time to Talk Day, which aims to lower stigma and dismantle the barriers that keep so many people from seeking assistance when they need it.

In an effort to encourage as many people as possible to talk about mental health, See Me hosted a variety of in-person and online events and activities last year. With any luck, this year will be even more successful.

Chik Duncan, a volunteer with See Me, discovered that discussing his mental health honestly was much simpler than attempting to keep it a secret. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) sufferer Chik stated that being open about her condition felt “a lot easier than not talking about it.”

“When I first started feeling sick, it was pretty gradual,” he stated. To be sure, I had no idea what was going on with me. It wasn’t so much that I was lying to people or pretending I was okay; it was more that I was keeping quiet.

“I used to frequently arrive late to events when I went out with pals. However, I wouldn’t reveal the true cause. “I got held up,” I would have said.

Chik continued by saying that he didn’t open up about his problems and felt “such a huge relief” until he got support from friends and saw a psychotherapist.

He declared, “I quite quickly understood that it was far better to be honest about my mental health than to try to disguise it. Because OCD is an anxiety-related disorder, suppressing it simply makes it worse because you’re subjecting yourself to additional stress and strain.

Since then, I’ve also discovered that saying, “Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t do that,” has helped to diffuse a lot of potentially unpleasant situations. OCD is what I have. It relieves you of a great deal of pressure.

Chik is now encouraging everyone in Scotland to participate in Time to Talk Day.

“The more we talk about it, the more we normalise the fact that people have different conditions,” he stated, adding that stigma will probably decrease as a result. I am aware that some of the conversations I have had have helped to lessen stigma.

“Talk about any problems you may be having without fear.”

“Time to Talk Day provides an ideal opportunity to ask someone how they are and encourage them to really say how they feel,” said Wendy Halliday, director of See Me.

“By discussing mental health, we can dispel stigma and build empowering communities where discussing mental health can feel liberating. We can also challenge attitudes and out-of-date views.”

The See Me website currently offers activity packs and resources to assist you in organizing how you’ll observe Time to Talk Day in 2024. Visit seemescotland.org to learn more.

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