Nearly one in four adults surveyed in the North West (24 per cent) who said their mental health got worse during the pandemic haven’t spoken to anyone about it during this time – equivalent to around 640,000 people, according to research published today.
Almost half (45 per cent) of all respondents in the North West reported a worsening in their mental health during the pandemic.
Of those who have been concerned about the mental health of someone they care about, almost one in five (18 per cent) say they haven’t tried to talk to them about it.
The poll was conducted as part of Time to Talk Day, a national day of conversations about mental health. The aim is to spark millions of conversations about mental health in communities, schools, homes, workplaces and online across the UK.
Encouragingly, of those surveyed in the North West who have talked to someone, over two thirds (71 per cent) report at least one positive conversation, with feeling supported and feeling listened to the major reasons why it was positive.
More than half of all survey respondents (57 per cent) agreed that overall, it’s getting easier to talk about mental health.
Simon Povey, 38, lives in Chorlton-cum-Hardy with his fiancée and two daughters and balances working full-time for BT while volunteering for Shout, a free and confidential text messaging support service for people who are struggling to cope and need mental health support.
Simon has been a passionate advocate for the importance of openly discussing mental health for a long time, having experienced mental health problems for much of his life.
He has overcome anxiety, body dysmorphic disorder and periods of depression.
Simon is supporting Time to Talk Day by openly sharing his story.
“My experience has taught me that I don’t need to be ashamed of my story and sharing it with others can actually have a positive impact,” he said.
“We all have stories that shape who we are and can help us connect with one another.
“My hope is that when people feel ready, they can share their own story and others are ready to listen.
“Know that you are not alone.
“What you share and who you share it with is up to you, but when you’re ready there are people who care about you, who will listen and provide you with the support you deserve.
“If you’re worried about a loved one and want to encourage them to talk, one of the best things you can do is simply be there for them.
“Even if they don’t immediately disclose how they’re feeling, having you there as a support is a great source of strength.
“And when they’re ready to share, do your best to listen without judgement.”
Time to Talk Day 2022 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.
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.
Previous research by Co-op, Mind, SAMH and Inspire showed the vital role of community for mental wellbeing.
One in four respondents (28 per cent) to the national Together Through Tough Times survey said that non-judgemental spaces in the community where they could talk and listen to others would support their wellbeing.
In addition to delivering Time to Talk Day 2022, Co-op colleagues, members and customers are raising £8m for Mind, SAMH and Inspire, which will fund more than 50 mental wellbeing services in communities across the UK, supporting over 10,000 people to improve their mental wellbeing.
“We all have mental health and by talking about it we can support ourselves and others,” said Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity.
“The last two years have had a huge impact on us all and we know that talking can help us feel less alone, more able to cope and encouraged to seek support if we need to.
“However you do it, reach out and start a conversation about mental health this Time to Talk Day.”
For information about Time to Talk Day, including tips on starting the conversation, visit timetotalkday.co.uk. Follow the conversation on social media #TimeToTalk.