The two-hour, lunchtime event was held for staff and volunteers to mark the annual nation-wide push to get people talking more openly about mental heath. ‘Time to Talk’ Day is organised by Time to Change, the campaign to change how we all think and act about mental health and clocked up 20,551 conversations about mental health on 2nd February, 2017.

Advocacy Focus, as a organisation that advocates for individuals with mental health issues firmly believes that mental health should be discussed as freely as physical health. The ‘Tea and Talk’ session was a chance to offer a safe and informal space for the team to open up about mental health and to learn about the support available to them.

The six Time to Change Employee Champions, who are experienced with people with mental health problems, led the event and described how to access the support which includes a buddy system for new employees, weekly ‘something to make you smile’ emails, access to an in-house psychologist and a signposting service to specialist help.

Justine Hodgkinson, CEO of Advocacy Focus, said:

“Mental health is particularly important at Advocacy Focus because in order for our Advocates to carry out the challenging work that they do in care homes, prisons and mental health support settings, they need to be the best version of themselves.

Advocacy is an empathetic and demanding line of work, so it is important that there is a support network in place for us all look out for each other as a team and deliver the best possible service for our clients.

We’re proud of our pledge and commitment to Time to Change, not just on special event days like this but on each and every day.”

 John Hutchison, Operations Director at Advocacy Focus, said:

“The Advocacy Focus ‘Tea and Talk’ event was a great way of breaking from the routine and a chance to talk about mental health during working hours.

Talking about mental health at work can be daunting and our Advocacy Focus Time to Change Champions did a sterling job of making mental health a normal topic of conversation, dispelling myths and making it easier for people to seek support within the organisation.”