With just a five-minute conversation, an individual can help break the silence around mental health.
In a campaign by UK organization Time To Change, individuals are encouraged to take five minutes out of their day to talk about mental health on Thursday. Thousands of people have taken this conversation— using the hashtag #TimetoTalk— to various social media outlets, including Twitter, YouTube, blogs, Facebook, and Time to Change’s virtual “Pledge Wall” where people can log their five minutes of conversation. According to Time to Change, these conversations are challenging mental health stigma and discrimination.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four adults— approximately 61.5 million Americans— experiences mental illness in a given year. Time To Talk Day’s goal is to let individuals know that making a difference can be as simple as asking, “How are you today?”.
“Unfortunately, I think we live in a society where mental health is still often stigmatized, depending on where you live,” Dr. Joe Taravella, supervisor of pediatric psychology at New York University Langone Medical Center’s Rusk Rehabilitation, told FoxNews.com. “Having people do this even in social media is just an amazing way for them to open up about it, to get comfortable talking about it, to release these secrets which are carrying a lot of negative and toxic energy for them.”
For individuals who have yet to visit a doctor, their annual wellness visit with their primary care physician is a good opportunity to discuss any issues, Taravella suggested, echoing Time to Change’s encouragement for individuals to reach out to their physicians if they are struggling with mental health problems.