At the Norse Group we understand how important it is that we all invest time to take care of our own mental health while being aware of the mental health of those around us, and that’s why we support Time to Talk Day 2022.

Our Employee Assistance Programme is available to all staff 24/7, 365 to offer compassionate, confidential support, whatever challenges our employees face.

We all have mental health – and 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year – and by talking about it we can support ourselves and others. Today we are encouraging our staff to take the time to talk and to help us create supportive, workplace communities.

These conversations with colleagues, as well as family and friends, have the power to change lives, with recent research showing just how important open conversations in communities are to support everyone’s mental wellbeing.

While the aim of Time to Talk Day is to be open to the idea of talking about mental health, it’s not about forcing those to talk who aren’t comfortable doing so. And it might not always feel easy to know what to say, but it doesn’t have to be awkward and being there for someone can make a big difference.

There is no right way to talk about mental health; however, these tips from MIND and Rethink Mental Illness in England can help make sure you’re approaching it 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 will help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgmental, like “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. So, if you do talk in person, you might want to chat while you are doing something else. You could start a conversation when you’re walking, cooking or stuck in traffic. However, 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 but 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, and 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. And that means when a friend or loved one opens up about mental health, they don’t want to be treated any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you’d normally do.

Be patient
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 to them about it may make it easier for them to open up another time.

And there are lots of things you can do to support them even if you’re not talking, such as:
• Finding things in your community to get involved in together
• Sending a text to let them know you’re thinking of them
• Offering to help with day-to-day tasks

For further mental health support, there are lots of places to which you can go or direct people for help including:

Mind – how to seek help
Rethink – help in your area