The #timetotalk initiative is the highest trending hashtag on Twitter today.
This comes after the announcement that the south west has the highest number of suicides in England, at 11 people per 100,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The figures are lower than previous years where Bournemouth had 12 people per 100,000 committing suicide, compared to Poole where it was only 8, according to Public Health England statistics.
Dr Andy Mayers, Principle Academic at Bournemouth University and Patron for Dorset Mind, said:
“We often think about mental health as being mental illness, and it’s not necessarily.
“Mental health is what we’ve all got. We can protect that, young or old, by making sure we’ve got a reasonably healthy lifestyle, we sleep, we get good exercise, we eat well and generally try and look after the way we conduct our lives.
“Time to talk day is every year, introduced by Time to Change, to tackle the stigma towards mental health and so we talk more about mental health. It is an opportunity to make it OK to talk about mental health.”
Dr Mayers said the stigma is that sufferers are weak, it’s their own fault and their lifestyle choice is wrong. This can make people “more reluctant to come forward and can be more likely to take their own life.”
He highlighted the importance of getting these issues “out in the open and the importance to talk.”
Dr Mayers tweeted earlier today:
It’s @TimetoChange #TimeToTalkDay! Let’s get everyone talking about #mentalhealth and smash #stigma. What are you talking about? https://t.co/pQSC9xbwqB @bournemouthuni @SUBUBournemouth @DorsetHealth @DorsetMind @DorsetCCG @DorsetHealth @HwatchDorset @samaritans @MindCharity pic.twitter.com/lUCQ9Q0JON
— Dr Andy Mayers FRSA (@DrAndyMayers) February 1, 2018
Overall in England, 1 in 6 people will report a common mental health condition every week, such as anxiety and depression, concludes the NHS Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing published in 2016.
The Twitter hashtag has been launched by the UK mental health charity, Time to Change, and has been shared by individuals and various organisations across Dorset and the UK.
The campaign is highlighting the need to openly discuss mental health and to reduce the ‘isolation’ of those suffering from mental health conditions.
The Time to Change tweet has been circulating Twitter:
#timetotalk Day is about *everyone* having conversations about mental health, so that people with mental health problems feel less ashamed and isolated.
— Time to Change (@TimetoChange) February 1, 2018
The Mental Health Foundation tweeted:
The average adult will say “I’m fine” 14 times a week.
But just 19% really mean it.
— Mental Health Fdn (@mentalhealth) February 1, 2018