Time to Talk Day is one of the biggest days on the mental health calendar. It’s a chance for all of us to be more open about mental health – to talk, listen and change lives.

Talking can help reduce mental health related stigma, supporting open conversation and encouraging people to get the help they may need.

There are many ways to start a conversation. If you already feel comfortable with doing it, just go for it. If you are struggling, these steps may help you:

1. Find the opportunity to talk

Via text, face to face, over a phone call. All of these can work as a way to open up a conversation. It may be as simple as asking someone how they are doing (and asking for a bit more detail if you get a typical “I’m good” or I’m okay”. Asking about what they have been up to may be a good option to explore). It may need a bit more preparation if you are worried about someone and you may find it helpful to frame the conversation to ensure the person you want to support understands where you are coming from.

2. Try to ask open questions

Use open, non-judgemental questions to explore what is going on for the person. Be present in the conversation whilst giving them space to express how they feel. 

3. Be supportive even if you don’t fully understand it

People’s experiences of mental wellbeing are quite diverse. Even if you don’t fully understand them or don’t agree with them, try to focus on how the person is impacted. For example, you may not fully understand why certain tasks leave someone feeling overwhelmed, but you probably know what feeling overwhelmed feels like. 

4. Remember you don’t need to have a solution

When supporting someone it may be tempting to try to solve their problems. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to mental wellbeing. Listening to what the person is telling you and helping them think about what has helped them before can be very supportive, and just what they need.

If you would like to further develop your skills in managing mental health in the workplace, check RSSB’s e-learning, remote and face to face training courses.