By Lindsey Appleby-Flynn, Mental Health Expert for Connect2Care

“A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference and it’s something we can all do. So this year our theme is The Power of Small.”

This Thursday, the 4th February marks Time to Talk Day 2021. The anti-stigma campaign by Time to Change has been running awareness days for a number of years to get people talking about mental health to reduce stigma and build an understanding.

This year, Time to Talk Day is raising awareness around ‘The Power of Small’, encouraging small conversations to put an emphasis on the fact that your actions don’t need to be elaborate to make a difference to someone’s mental health.

The more conversations we have about mental health, the more myths we can bust and barriers we can break down – helping to end the isolation, shame and fear that too many people with mental health problems are made to feel.

Mental health referrals have seen an increase since the first lockdown in March. And it’s thought that the lasting effects of the pandemic will be felt for a considerable amount of time afterwards.

The message behind the Power of Small is an inspiring one. You don’t have to be trained or qualified to have a positive impact on someone’s mental health. Instead this message promotes the complete opposite! You can have a positive impact through small gestures, such as picking up the phone for a chat, staying in touch through Zoom or by sending a text message to someone you haven’t spoken to for a while.

These small gestures may seem simple, but for those of us that are feeling the strain of isolation, they provide a link to the outside world and normality which can really help to lift a person’s spirits.

Not all mental health conditions have been diagnosed and new conditions are brought about every day by the various stresses that people are feeling. So this message relates to all people, whether they have a diagnosed mental health condition or not. The way that we react to the strains and pressures of life are unique to every individual and we all have varying levels of resilience. Everyone has mental health, exactly the same as we all have physical health and no one is immune to stress.

I challenge you to use the Power of Small today and check in on someone you know. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, just start a conversation. You never know it may just light up that person’s day.

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