1 in 4 Brits find work the best place to speak about mental health

Time to talk
 As part of this year’s Time To Talk Day, research conducted by Mind, Co-op, Rethink Mental Illness in England, See Me with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in Scotland, Inspire and Change Your Mind in Northern Ireland and Time to Change Wales, which polled over 5,000 people reveals that one in four (27 per cent) full time employees find work the best space to help them to speak about their mental health – higher than local cafes (21 per cent), the pub (17 per cent), gym (17 per cent) or library (9 per cent).
Despite increases in hybrid and remote working as a result of the pandemic, many of us still find a chat with colleagues a great way to help our mental health.
 
Work is clearly a vital source of mental health support for many. Two thirds (65 per cent) of retirees surveyed never make space to speak about mental health, compared to a quarter (26 per cent) of full time employees surveyed and a third (31 per cent) of part time employees.
 
People in full time employment are slightly more likely to deem conversations about wellbeing to be important – 82 per cent say it is important to speak about mental health, compared to 77 per cent of the general population. 
 
Time to Talk Day aims to spark millions of conversations about mental health in workplaces, communities, schools, homes, and online across the UK. We know that stigma still prevails, but by changing the way we speak and think about mental health, we can challenge this.
 
Jaabir Ramlugon, 37, from East London was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) in 2016. Thanks in part to therapy, he now only experiences traits of it. He sometimes makes space to talk about his mental health in the workplace, but due to the cost of living crisis he doesn’t meet or talk to friends as often anymore. He says:   
 
“At work when people ask how I am, instead of just saying ‘I’m fine’, I’m more honest about it. Thankfully I work in an environment where that’s okay. It’s a blessing, because my previous experiences haven’t been like that.”
 
Yet there is always more to be done. A quarter (25 per cent) of respondents who are employed full time would welcome more information in their place of work – as is available through the Time To Talk Day campaign.
 
Time to Talk Day 2023 is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness in England, See Me with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in Scotland, Inspire and Change Your Mind in Northern Ireland and Time to Change Wales. It is being delivered in partnership with Co-op as part of a shared ambition to reach those who wouldn’t usually engage with mental health support.
 
The partners are supporting communities across the UK to encourage mental health conversations by providing free resources, including tips on how to have the conversation, and running a UK-wide awareness campaign. Every conversation matters and people are encouraged to make space in the day for a conversation about mental health. Whether that is texting a friend, chatting to a colleague or neighbour, or raising awareness in your community. This is a chance for all of us to talk, to listen, and to change lives. 

It’s vital to make space for talking about mental health 

The cost of poor mental health to UK employers has been estimated to be between £53 billion and £56 billion, according to the Mental Health and Employers Report published in 2022 by Deloitte, with presenteeism, the cost of not performing at our best due to ill health, making up the majority of this significant cost. 
 
Nick Speight, Co-op People Director, MBE says:
“With the cost of living crisis, and the ongoing impacts from the pandemic, it’s never been more important for us to be able to talk about how we’re feeling. Our research shows one in four find work the best space to help them to speak about their mental health, highlighting the vital role of employers supporting their colleagues, and getting behind activity like Time to Talk Day to help kickstart conversations.”
Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of Mind said:
“It’s vital we make space in the day for a conversation about mental health. Yet so many of us are finding that looking after our mental health has taken a back seat. Worryingly we fear stigma if we speak up, we can no longer afford to access the things or places that keep us mentally well, or we don’t want to be a burden on others. We know that talking about our mental health and listening to others about their experiences can help us feel less alone, more able to cope and encouraged to seek support if we need to. That’s why it’s time to talk and to listen this Time to Talk Day.”
 
Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said:
“Talking about our mental health with someone we trust can help us feel less isolated and encourage us to reach out for support. It’s even more important during the difficult times we’re living through, and we hope this Time to Talk Day sparks millions of conversations about mental health.”
  
In addition to supporting Time to Talk Day 2023, Co-op colleagues, members and customers have raised over £8m for Mind, the Scottish Association for Mental Health and Inspire. The partnership is funding mental wellbeing services in over 50 local communities across the UK. Over 22,000 people have received support from the services, so far.
 
For information about Time to Talk Day, including tips on starting the conversation, visit: timetotalkday.co.uk. Follow the conversation on social media #TimeToTalk.

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