To mark Time to Talk day, we asked some of the Stretching the City team how they talk about their mental health and encourage others to open up.
“Writing is one of the tools I use to talk about my mental health. It gives me the opportunity to reflect on how I’m feeling, to share that with others and start a broader conversation. It’s also a great strategy if you want to express how you’re feeling but don’t necessarily want to navigate others’ responses. It also doesn’t need to be shared. Just writing for yourself can be really therapeutic.”
Clare Proudfoot, Yoga teacher
Exercise, meditation and taking time away from technology are my BIG 3! I also suggest people take time to watch this video on empathy by Brene Brown.
Charlotte Wiseman, Coach
“Put away phones, put aside time so you can focus rather than being distracted and to ask open questions with space left for the other person to answer. And not to be afraid of silence! Sometimes silence doesn’t need to be filled and gives a friend their own time to respond.”
Meredith Whitely, Meditation Teacher
“I am doing an MA in Psychotherapy at the moment, so have been thinking about this a lot! What I suggest to people struggling to speak about their feelings are:
1. First keep a personal diary of thoughts/ feelings/ events on day to day basis.
2. If you are going on a lunch break with a friend/ colleague start by talking about your lunch choice, what do you like in the food you chose, would you like to make some at home, how important nourishing yourself with the food you like is- and usually things flow from there?
3. Have you been reading any books lately? Any new TV shows you like? What is it in those options you make in your entertainment that you enjoy?
4. Having a quick check in after a Yoga classes or a meditation class in the office on what you liked/ how did it feel.
I believe the above are mainly conversation starters and more things will come up but we need to start somewhere!”
Thania Tympanari, Yoga Teacher
“In a professional consultation, I will thank the client for sharing with me, ask them to let me know when they feel ready to continue, and then at the end I tend to acknowledge that they have, understandably, been deeply affected, and I signpost to suitable, local support services.
With friends, I simply keep checking in even if they ‘go quiet’ for months. I don’t raise the subject (that’s up to them), but I don’t ‘give up on them’. It’s about being there with no pressure.”
Laura Viner, Nutritionist
“If you know you have to have a conversation which is going to be difficult – either for you or the other person – I find it helpful to set the tone at the start. For example, ‘this is not an easy thing for me to discuss with you, however it feels important to me to share this.’ You may even set the intention further, whereby you ask them to simply listen without asking questions or commenting until you’re finished speaking. It’s a helpful way for you to stay connected to yourself and what you are saying. For the other person it’s helpful for them to have the space to truly hear what you’re saying without being distracted by anticipating their response.”
Pippa Richardson, Yoga Teacher
“I find going for a walk really helps conversation flow. It’s less confrontational than sitting down ‘face to face’ and allows for more natural silences and breaks for the conversation to evolve.”
Sally Lovett, Founder & Director.
For more tips on getting talking and ways to get involved with Time to Talk Day, click here.