31st January 2021

When was the last time you talked?  

Not the weekly Zoom meetings with your manager, or the daily check-ins with your partner about the kids or what chores need doing. Not even the countless back and forth WhatsApp messages in the family and friends chat.  

No. We mean when was the last time you really talked? 

Talked about how you are, how you’re feeling, and what’s been getting you down? How this lockdown is really making you feel, and what worries or concerns you have for the future. 

Are. You. Happy?  

Are. You. Sad?  

Do you need someone to be there for you? 

Are. You. OK? 

February 4th marks Time to Talk Day, an annual event which encourages us to be more open about mental health. It’s about busting the awkwardness which sometimes comes from openly talking about mental health, and replacing it with awareness, understanding, and an approach which is non-judgmental and transparent.  

We explore the positive effects of talking about your mental health, and how these can contribute to your overall wellness.  

Removes Stigma  

Research conducted for The Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Organisation found that stigma in illness can lead to stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination, as well as self-stigma where individuals dealing with mental illness turn against themselves (Corrigan and Watson, 2002). The behavioral impact of public stigma can take four forms: withholding help, avoidance, coercive treatment, and segregated institutions (Corrigan and Watson, 2002).  

One of the strategies for removing public stigma is contact. This means the more we talk to people about their mental health, the more we work towards effective change in individual attitudes (Corrigan and Watson, 2002).  

Reinforces You’re Not Alone 

1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year, whilst 1 in 6 experience a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression in any given week (Mind, 2020).  

These statistics are alarming but reinforce just how common it is to not feel ok. By reaching out and talking, you’re also allowing somebody else to open up and share what they’re feeling also. This kinship can help facilitate healthy discussion as well as solidarity and possible solutions. 

Lowers Risk of Suicide 

Psychological autopsies since the middle of the previous century have revealed that up to 90% of suicides were committed by people who have suffered from mental disorders (Bradvik, 2018). Some of the psychiatric issues linked to suicide are depression, substance use disorders, anxiety, and trauma. 

Research shows that suicide prevention efforts depend on the disclosure of suicide ideation, which is an early step in the suicidal process (Bradvik, 2018). However, this can only happen if there is an opportunity to do so. 

By talking and disclosing your feelings, an intervention could be triggered which could lower the risk of suicide and potentially save your life. 

Triggers Care and Support 

A lot of the time we’re so busy and wrapped up in our own routines that we fail to recognise what’s happening with our nearest and dearest.  

Actions cause reactions, and by taking the step to talk to someone you’ll trigger a response. Whether that be emotional in terms of added care or support, or practical such as seeking professional guidance, it might just be what you need. 

Helps Maintain a Positive State of Wellbeing 

According to a study funded by the Economic & Social Research Council, people who have supportive friends and family have better health, whereas those who have nobody to talk to are worse off in psychological terms (ESRC, 2013). 

The study found that women benefited from friendship networks, whereas men did better when they had many friends or family members (ESRC, 2013). 

These relationships, when utilised in meaningful ways, are a source of psychological wellbeing and it’s important to nourish them and hold them in high regard. 

How Can Peel help? 

Traditionally a chat over coffee was the way to go. But in the current climate it’s not easy to meet people, let alone go to your favourite coffee shop. However, Peel is still open for deliveries and takeaway. So, get that coffee to go and sip on it whilst you talk over the phone, laptop, or face-to-face at a safe 2m distance. 

At Peel, we offer vegan options for all our hot drinks swapping out the dairy for soya, oat, coconut, almond, or cashew milk alternatives. 

And Finally 

Remember to check government guidelines on the rules for meeting people outside your household, as they are subject to change. 

References: 

Bartley, M. (2013).  Life gets under your skin. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/epidemiology-health-care/sites/epidemiology-health-care/files/lguys.pdf  

Bradvik, L. (2018). Suicide risk and mental disorders. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(9). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165520/  

Corrigan, P. W. and Watson, A. C. (2002). Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness. World Psychiatry, 1(1). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1489832/  

Mental health facts and statistics. (2020). Mind.Org. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/#:~:text=1%20in%204%20people%20will,week%20in%20England%20%5B2%5D