Time to Talk: 'Conversations change lives'

Employers are today being encouraged to start conversations over the next 24 hours to raise awareness of the positive impact of talking about mental health at work.

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The challenge comes as figures released for today’s national Time to Talk Day show four in ten people living with mental ill-health have been treated negatively for having their condition.The survey of 2,000 people living with a range of mental health problems carried out by the Time to Change campaign also found 19 per cent had lost their job because of their illness.Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, said: “These figures show the devastating impact that mental health stigma continues to have on potentially millions of lives. We know that progress is being made in improving attitudes and reducing discrimination in some key areas of life but too many of us are still being made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless by other people’s reactions, resulting in the loss of what means the most – our friends, our families, our jobs.

Conversations round the clock

The figures were released today by the charity to coincide with the fourth national Time to Talk Day, which aims to get people talking more openly about mental health.The theme of this year’s Time to Talk Day is “Conversations Change Lives.” Relevant for all employers, and particularly those with internationally mobile employees who work across different time zones, today’s activities and profile-raising activities are aimed at getting “people talking over 24 hours and around the clock.”

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The Mind and Rethink Mental Illness-led campaign believes people talking and sharing their experiences changes the attitudes of those around them.Findings from the survey launched today show more than three in ten (31%) would have been encouraged to open up about their mental health problems sooner if people close to them were more open about their feelings and emotions.

How to get involved in Time to Talk

More than a thousand organisations will be organising activity around the day, including Tesco, John Lewis Partnership, Unilever, WH Smith, Tranmere Rovers Football Club and England Athletics.To take part, Time to Change is asking people to log their conversation on the Time To Change website, which will be updated in real time to show just how many people are taking part.“The good news is that being open about mental health, and ready to listen, can make a positive difference and potentially change lives," continues Sue Baker. "Time to Talk Day is a great reason for everyone to get involved and become part of our movement to change how we all think and act about mental health.”

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