What is Time to Talk Day?
Time to Talk Day is an annual awareness day held at the beginning of February. It’s a day for us all to start a conversation about mental health. Talking about mental health isn't easy. But a conversation has the power to change lives.
Time to Talk Day is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with the Co-op.
How to start a conversation
You don't have to host a huge event to get the conversation going on Time to Talk Day. Remember, every conversation matters. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Let us know on social media if you start a conversation, using #TimeToTalk.
Check in with a friend.
Pop our posters on your community notice boards.
Host a coffee and chat in your community centre.
Put some posters up in your school.
Run a lunch and learn in your office.
Text a friend.
Download our resources
We want it to be as easy as possible for everyone to get the conversation going. We have a range of resources to download, from social media posts to activity ideas.
Tips for talking
There's no right or wrong way to talk about mental health. But these tips can help make sure you’re approaching the conversation in a helpful way.
Ask questions and listen
Asking questions can give the person space to express how they’re feeling and what they’re going through. And it can help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgmental. For example, “how does that affect you?” or “what does it feel like?”
Think about the time and place
Sometimes it’s easier to talk side by side rather than face to face. If you do talk in person, you might want to chat while doing something else. You could start a conversation when you’re walking, cooking or stuck in traffic. But don’t let the search for the perfect place put you off!
Don't try and fix it
It can be hard to see someone you care about having a difficult time. Try to resist the urge to offer quick fixes to what they’re going through. Learning to manage or recover from a mental health problem can be a long journey. They’ve likely already considered lots of different tools and strategies. Just talking can be really powerful, so unless they’ve asked for advice directly, it might be best just to listen.
Treat them the same
When someone has a mental health problem, they’re still the same person as they were before. When a friend or loved one opens up about mental health, they don’t want you to treat them any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you’d normally do.
No matter how hard you try, some people might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through. That’s ok – the fact that you’ve tried to talk may make it easier for them to open up another time.
Frequently asked questions
Time to Talk Day was started by Time to Change, a campaign to end mental health stigma and discrimination. Time to Change was run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and funded by Comic Relief, Department of Health and Social Care and the National Lottery Community Fund.
Time to Change closed on 31 March 2021, and their charity partners Mind and Rethink Mental Illness made a commitment to continue to deliver Time to Talk Day. This is the second year Mind and Rethink Mental Illness have run Time to Talk Day.
2022 saw Time to Talk Day have a corporate partner for the first time – the Co-op. The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes.
The Co-op’s contribution to 2022 was invaluable and helped Time to Talk Day reach new communities. Co-op are continuing their partnership with Mind, SAMH and Inspire on Time To Talk Day 2023. Co-op don’t want to just fund responses to support mental wellbeing, they want to be part of the responses and will be mobilising their assets, colleagues and programmes to support Time to Talk Day as part of a shared ambition to reach those who wouldn’t ordinarily engage with mental health support.
We want to create a society where everyone feels comfortable talking about mental health – whenever they like. If people feel able to do that, that’s great. Unfortunately, many people still don’t feel comfortable talking openly. Many fear judgment from others. By asking everyone to talk about mental health at a shared moment in time, whether you have a mental health problem or not, we hope people will discover a positive experience that they'll continue whenever they want to.
Public awareness and understanding of mental health has improved in recent years. 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 a big positive. But too many people still struggle in silence, feeling unable to speak out for fear of what others might think. Public awareness days like Time to Talk Day play an important role in ending this stigma which serves as a major barrier to people accessing help and support.
There are many improvements we want to see across the mental health field and providing people with timely access to treatment and support is an absolute priority. Mind and Rethink Mental Illness campaign tirelessly, holding government to account and offering direct support to those in need. But there are other critical issues that also need to be addressed.
Mental health stigma has serious consequences. The judgement that people face, or fear they face, can mean losing jobs, relationships and in the most extreme cases, lives. That’s why opening up the conversation about mental health problems and ending the stigma is so important.
The vast majority of people we talk to find that things improve when they open up about how they’re feeling. However, for some people, that may not be the case. If so, there are some fantastic online communities and helplines where people can find support and understanding. You can find these websites and numbers on the Mind and Rethink Mental Illness websites.
We know that talking about mental health can feel difficult or scary. But many people with lived experience of mental health problems have told us that a small gesture or conversation made a big difference in helping them open up and get support. This may not be the case for everyone. But by showing that a conversation about mental health doesn’t have to be daunting, we can encourage more people to open up to the topic. And be there to support their friends, family or colleagues if they’re struggling.
We know that a squeeze on living standards, unmanageable debt and economic recessions can contribute towards mental health problems. While we would still encourage being open to discussing your mental health, we also know that practical support is important in this context. Read our information on how to manage your finances and where to seek support.