Let’s end the stigma around mental health simply by asking a friend or a colleague how they’ve been feeling. Today is ‘Time To Talk’ day.

Whether you like these guys or not, they are right in this:

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry stand next to each other with Heads Together hairband

Royals William, Catherine and Harry fight mental health stigma through Heads Together

Through our work with young people, emergency response, homeless charities, and with veterans, we have seen time and time again that unresolved mental health problems lie at the heart of some of our greatest social challenges.

British people are known for their sarcasm and for talking around in circles as a way to avoid describing things exactly as they are.

But when it comes to mental health awareness, they couldn’d be more frontal. Over time, including the five years I spent in London and my own time with depression, resources such as Mind, the royals’ Heads Together initiative and The Guardian‘s articles on mental health were extremely helpful.

Because when you have a mental illness, talking about it or hearing someone’s story with the same problem as you could go as far as save your life.

time to talk 2 feb tip card 1

time to talk 2 feb tip card 2

So here’s the challenge (it’s so simple it shouldn’t even be called a challenge):

  • Have a cup of tea with someone
    (you already do that with some small talk, right?)
  • Phone someone
    (guess what – phones can be used for that too!)
  • Writte a letter
    (when was the last time you did that?)
  • Go for a walk after lunch with a colleague
    (you can always break the ice by talking about the weather)
  • Join the conversation on social media using #TimeToTalk, #HeadsTogether or #EndTheStigma.
    (yes, social media can isolate us; but when mental illness makes you feel isolated, online becomes your people)

If you are struggling with a mental health problem yourself and are not yet ready to speak up, you may want to share your story with me (in English, Portuguese or German). We can skype, e-mail or maybe even meet in person. I will write your story, keep you anonymous if you wish, ask a health professional to review it in the context of your mental illness, and send it back to you for approval.

I leave you with some stories which prove that talking could change someone’s life.

Start talking today.