Time to Talk Day, February 6, draws attention to mental health and the importance of reaching out to others. The day aims to help people open up and be honest about mental health, without the fear and stigma often attached to the topic. It can be daunting to express personal struggles and because of this, many people keep everything bottled up. By opening up, the likelihood of the person suffering seeking help increases, which can be crucial to the healing process. On Time to Talk Day, help raise awareness about mental health and be a part of changing the narrative.
History of Time to Talk Day
Although there is still a long way to go in changing perceptions about mental health, the past was much worse, especially for women. In Victorian times, women were considered mentally unwell for any number of reasons that weren’t necessarily valid. Some of these reasons for such a diagnosis were post-partum depression, disobedience, and anxiety. In reality, many women were misdiagnosed due to a lack of information regarding mental illness, and an unfavorable view of women.
During the 1880s, people were placed in mental facilities, but they rarely received the help that they actually needed. When a person entered a mental facility, they were often forgotten about by society. A writer named Nelly Bly wanted to investigate this, so she went undercover inside a mental institution, posing as a mentally ill person. She wrote about the improper treatment she experienced in a series of articles, and as a result, the institution she wrote about was reformed.
The importance of mental health started advancing in the 1930’s when experts began understanding the reasons that could drive a person to madness. Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud developed theories relating to why this behavior took place with the intent to understand and help people rather than leaving them at the mercy of facilities and prisons. His experimental theories, however, weren’t very well-received and not all of them were effective.
Fast forward to the present day, perceptions surrounding mental health and understanding it has come a long way. Experts have better knowledge of the causes and how to treat it, but there are still many misconceptions attached to the subject the public has yet to fully reconcile with. Because of this, the social movement Time to Change created Time to Talk Day in 2014, initiating millions of conversations worldwide through various channels about mental health. Their goal is to reduce mental health-related stigma and discrimination by raising awareness and changing the narrative.
Time to Talk Day timeline
The Time to Change social movement created Time to Talk Day to break the stigma surrounding mental health.
Sigmund Freud develops many theories delving deeper into the psyche of those deemed as mad, and experts take a deeper look at the causes.
Nelly Bly went undercover inside of a mental facility and wrote about her experience which led to the reform of the institution.
Many women were misdiagnosed for actions unrelated to mental illness based on their gender.
Time to Talk Day FAQs
How do I respond to someone with a mental illness?
It’s best to listen to the person and offer words of encouragement and understanding so they don’t feel guilty.
What is the most common mental illness?
Depression affects an estimated 300 million people.
What is the color of mental illness?
Mental health awareness is represented by a green ribbon. In the 1800s, green was the colour used to label people who were considered insane
How To Observe Time to Talk Day
Bring it up casually
Sometimes, it’s better to approach difficult subject matter with a sense of levity. Have a conversation about mental health by bringing it up naturally in conversation. If there’s dead space, consider broaching the topic by asking the person you care about how they’re doing and convey your open-mindedness. People often just need someone else to talk to.
Have a conversation with treats
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, invite a friend or family member over to talk about it and use sweets, cupcakes, cake, coffee, or tea depending on your preference. These conversations can be hard, but offering comfort foods can make a more comfortable space while processing emotions in a judgment-free zone.
Use the hashtag
To learn more about people and their experiences with mental illness, check out the #TimetoTalkDay hashtag. Social media can bring people together, and knowing other people’s stories can help you feel a little less alone. If someone’s message has an impact on you, reach out to them and let them know and maybe something good can come out of it.
5 Facts About Time To Talk Day
Mental health affects millions
1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health problem this year.
9 out of 10 people who experience mental health problems say they face stigma and discrimination because of it.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.
Children aren’t immune
Children at a very young age may show early warning signs of mental health concerns.
Mental health prevention
By addressing known risk factors such as exposure to trauma and educational and sociological factors can possibly prevent mental health problems.
Why Time to Talk Day Is Important
A. It gives us permission
Even if we want to talk about certain issues, we don’t always know how to. Time to Talk Day gives us permission and the tools to discuss these topics without fear. It’s a day that’s meant for acceptance and understanding that can be an important first step in getting better.
Changing the narrative
Mental health is surrounded by misinformation and anything that changes the perception of this can only help. Creating a day that encourages conversations is a positive step forward.
You’re not alone
Time to Talk Day reminds us that we’re all in this together. Too often, people feel isolated with their issues, and knowing that they can freely express themselves will allow more people to get the help they so desperately need.
Time to Talk Day dates