Over 50 community groups, schools and workplaces across Northern Ireland are getting involved in Time to Talk Day and encouraging people to talk about their mental health.

Time to Talk Day is taking place across Northern Ireland on Thursday 6th February, as part of a nation-wide push to get people talking more openly about mental health. Time to Talk Day is organised by Change Your Mind, the campaign to change how we all think and act about mental health problems, led by Inspire Wellbeing.

Since its launch in 2018, Time to Talk Day has sparked thousands of conversations in schools, homes, workplaces, in the media and online and this year it is highlighting the importance of choosing to talk about mental health – no matter how difficult or awkward you might think the topic is.

1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year, but many of us are stll reluctant to talk about it. Starting a conversation about mental health might seem daunting but simply sending a text, checking in on a friend or sharing something on social media can break the ice.  Bank of Ireland, Translink, Phoenix Natural Gas are just some of the workplaces, schools and members of the public, who will all be having conversations about mental health on Time to Talk Day.

Translink Group Chief Executive, Chris Conway said:

“As a large business connecting people right across NI we recognise the importance of supporting employee and passenger health and well-being and raising awareness on those steps that can be taken to improve mental health.  By taking part in Time to Talk Day, we want to encourage more people to talk about their mental health and have invested in staff training to help those who are facing challenging times and feeling isolated.  Taking that first step to talk about your feelings, could be the first step to finding some comfort or coping mechanisms to help build a brighter future.”

Acting Head of Health & Social Wellbeing Improvement, Public Health Agency, Fiona Teague said:

“The benefits of talking and connecting with those around us cannot be underestimated.  Ask, Talk and Listen is an important message on ‘Time to Talk Day’ and any other day.  Taking that first step to open up to friends, family or work colleagues about how you are feeling can make a real difference. The PHA is delighted to support the Change Your Mind campaign with Inspire Wellbeing.  PHA also acknowledge the great work Inspire wellbeing and other agencies and services do across NI in breaking down the stigma that is still evident when we talk about mental health.

So today and on days to come, please reach out and ask for help or take the time to notice if someone close to you may be struggling to cope and have a conversation simply starting with ‘Are you Ok?’,  have a chat, listen and support.”

Chief Executive of Inspire Wellbeing, Kerry Anthony said:

“Public awareness and understanding of mental health has improved dramatically in recent years, thanks in part to campaigns like ours. We now have a much better understanding of the fact that we all have mental health just as we all have physical health, and that we need to look after it. This is overwhelmingly a positive thing. But too many people still struggle in silence, feeling unable to speak out for fear of what others might think. Public Awareness days like these play an important role in ending this stigma which serves as a major barrier to people access help and support.”

“It is encouraging to have the participation of organisations like Translink in Time to Talk Day this year because they can help open up the conversation around mental health and promote the importance of simply asking for help, or asking someone if they are ok. We must not be afraid to engage in these conversations.”

For information about Time to Talk Day and how you can get involved please visit www.chanegyourmindni.org