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The Conversations That Matter: Time to Talk Day

When someone asks you how you’re doing, especially if you’re at work, you’re probably going to answer with a generic ‘fine’ instead of sharing your real thoughts and feelings. And when you ask someone how they are today, you’re probably expecting a fine in return, too.

Many people still don’t feel comfortable reaching out when they’re struggling with their mental health or experiencing stress, so Time To Talk Day is all about opening up real, honest conversations in our personal lives and at work. It’s trying to create an environment where people feel comfortable giving an honest answer when we’re not feeling our best.

How are you?

We’ve been having a chat with some of our colleagues this week, and many have been happy to share the things they usually say when they’re asked “How are you?”, and what the hidden meaning behind that can often be.

“I said ‘I’m alright’ this morning, but I’d had an awful morning. The day’s got better, but I’m still probably not feeling alright.”

“When someone asks how I am, I say I’m here. That usually means I’ve been in pain today and I’m not on top form.”

“I’m fine is usually a sign for not being fine at all. Sometimes I struggle balancing work and life and when that gets overwhelming, you’ll probably hear me say I’m fine. I then worry when other people respond with ‘fine’ when I ask how they are. I’m conscious they’re probably struggling, but it’s not always appropriate to probe further.”

“Good good is my go-to when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and well not good. But for some reason I feel the need to add two ‘good’s!”

“I’m fine is usually code for I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’m annoyed, I’m down, I’m struggling. I’ll tend to use other words like ‘great’ when I am actually fine.”

We want every one of colleagues to be able to speak up and say they need someone to talk to, and get the support they need – and it starts with us being able to resist the reflex to say ‘I’m fine’ and talk about what’s bothering us.

Support for Colleagues

Talking about our problems is important, but we also recognise that sometimes it’s not enough so we’ve also made sure there’s resources for all of our colleagues should they need them including:

  • Mental Health First Aiders available for support in teams and services across the country
  • An employee assistance programme with instant access to counselling or mental health support
  • Access to GP-24 for free, easy access to medical advice whenever and wherever you need it

We want to make time to talk to one another – not just today, but every day. We want to listen to what’s being said beyond words, and offer support to others when we feel that maybe they might need it. We want to work together to continue to make Consensus a place where every colleague is supported, feels safe, and build a culture of kindness that helps us continue to provide the best quality of care to those we support.

Time to Talk Day 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. It’s run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and is being delivered in partnership with Co-op for the third year running. Across the UK, it’s delivered by See Me in Scotland, Inspire in Northern Ireland and Time to Change Wales.

Time to Talk Day

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