Time to Talk Day aims to get as many people as possible across England talking about mental health. Since it’s launch in 2014, it has sparked millions of conversations in schools, homes, workplaces, in the media and online, and attracted support from celebrities such as Freddie Flintoff, Stephen Fry and Frankie Bridge. Advocacy Focus will join hundreds of other groups, organisations, schools and members of the public, who will all be having conversations about mental health on Time to Talk Day 2017.

Activity planned for the day by Advocacy Focus will include a ‘Tea and Talk’ session from 12pm-2pm offering a safe and confidential space for our staff to open up about mental health.

The session will be led by our Time to Change Employee Champions who are people with lived experience of mental health problems, whether this be personally or through someone they have supported. At the end of the activity, we want to make sure that the staff and volunteer team at the charity know what support is available to them and how to access it.

Advocacy Focus’ Time to Change team will be talking about the support available to those who may be experiencing mental health issues both within and outside of the workplace which includes a buddy support system for new employees, weekly ‘something to make you smile’ emails, access to an in-house psychologist, and a signposting service to specialist support services.

As an employer that has signed up to the Time to Change pledge, Advocacy Focus has an Action Plan to show the charities commitment to reducing and tackling mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace.

1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year, with many of us too afraid to talk about it with a recent survey* discovering that employees were almost six times more likely to lie if they called in sick due to stress, anxiety or depression than with a physical illness with 40% saying they would not tell their manager the truth.

John Hutchison Operations Director at Advocacy Focus, said: “As a service that supports people who are experiencing or living with mental distress, we place great emphasis on the mental wellbeing of our professional team. We are taking part in Time to Talk Day because mental health is a topic that we should all feel able to talk about without the fear of stigma in the workplace.”

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: “Mental health problems are common and can affect any one of us, yet too often people are afraid to talk openly about mental health. for fear of being judged. Time to Talk Day is a chance for everyone to open up about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives. We want to get the nation talking round the clock, whatever the time, whatever the place, wherever you are – it’s easy to take part and make a change.”

For more information go to www.time-to-change.org.uk