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Coventry and Warwickshire have continued the conversation for Time to Talk Day


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Health and care partners in Coventry and Warwickshire are using Time to Talk Day   (Thursday 3 February) to remind residents that a small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference.  


This year Time to Talk Day aims to get people talking about mental health more than ever before, by encouraging everyone to start a conversation. By creating supportive communities where it is safe for people to share their feelings, whether that be amongst friends, family or colleagues, we can show that talking about mental health is normal.


The Zero Suicide Alliance, a charity aiming to raise awareness of suicide, has developed free online training that anyone can complete to give them the skills and confidence to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. A second interactive course is available to help people learn how social isolation can affect mental health and how they can support someone who is feeling isolated.


Working at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, Alex Cotton is the Team Leader of the Street Triage team, working alongside the Police to provide urgent mental health care to people at the point of crisis. Alex founded the mental health campaign ‘It Takes Balls to Talk’, encouraging people to feel confident enough to start a conversation with someone who may be struggling with their mental health and to encourage those struggling to talk about it. Alex said: “Fortunately, the stigma of talking about poor mental health is beginning to reduce, but I believe the three most common lies we often tell others are: I am OK, I am Alright, I am Fine.  Suppressing negative emotions can make a person feel worse but talking can really help.   

“If you are concerned about someone, simply ask them how they are. One of the biggest myths is that asking someone if they are feeling suicidal will put the thought into their head. The opposite is true; it actually reduces the risk.”

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone today, they can call Coventry and Warwickshire’s local mental health helpline (provided by Mental Health Matters) on 0800 616 171 and speak to a professional for free.  


As we continue to emerge from these challenging times, it is important that we pay close attention to our own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of those around us. The Coventry and Warwickshire initiative, Wellbeing for Life offers the 5 Ways to Wellbeing which are actions you can take to reflect on, and improve, your overall well being. They include:   


Being active – Whether it’s a walk, run, home workout or meditation, being active helps people to feel good.  


Connecting – Building connections can help to improve wellbeing, whether this is within the local community or taking up a hobby and linking with people who share similar interests.  


Giving – An act of kindness can help to improve mood and make others feel supported and cared for.  


Keep learning  – Learning new skills can offer a sense of achievement and confidence - a chance to try something new or rediscover an old interest.  


Take notice - Being aware of what is taking place in the present through sensations, thoughts and feelings can directly enhance wellbeing. 


Mr Cotton added: “There are many local services that can support with your mental health.  So, on Time to Talk day, if you’re struggling, talk to someone and seek the help that is there for you.  It could make all the difference.”


Written by: David Watkins

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