Monday 3 February 2020

Would You Rather? Time to Talk Day 2020

Time to Talk Day 2020 is Thursday February 6, 2020.

Time to Change, the UK’s largest mental health campaign challenging stigma and discrimination has chosen the party game “Would you rather?” as the focus of this year’s Time to Talk Day.

Choose talk, change lives.

Mental health problems affect one in four of us, yet too many people are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless because of this.

Time to Talk Day encourages everyone to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives.

We know that talking about mental health can feel awkward, but it doesn’t have to. This year, we’re using the popular game ‘Would you rather?’ to help break the ice and get the conversation flowing.

I have a confession to make. I’d never heard of, let alone played, this “popular game” until I started writing this article. Maybe I don’t get invited to the right kind of parties! To save you the trouble and embarrassment of googling it (as I had to!) the game is played by asking a series of questions of the form “Would you rather [do this] or [do that]?”

The questions can be light, deep, funny, silly — whatever you like. The idea is to get a conversation started in a fun and potentially interesting way. Any number of people can play, individually or in teams. You can even ask and answer the questions on your own, perhaps in a diary or journal. It’s easy to see how this fits the Time to Talk Day idea. The Time to Change website has examples of questions you might use, including:

Would you rather be stuck in a spider’s web or talk to a friend who feels trapped in their thoughts?

Would you rather kiss a jellyfish or talk to a colleague who feels all at sea?

Would you rather have the neck of an ostrich or talk to a friend who’s burying your feelings?

I thought about it and came up with a few of my own. One resonated with me especially. I’ll come back to that in a minute.

I’ve been a Time to Change Champion (the charity’s word for its registered volunteers and supporters) for several years in a personal capacity and co-lead the mental health and well-being team at work. I’m passionate about what we are doing at BPDTS Ltd and proud to have led the initiative to sign the Time to Change Employer Pledge. You can read our pledge on the Time to Change website.

I’m also one of the company’s team of mental health first aiders and it’s here that my Would you rather? question feels most relevant. The mental health first aider role involves being available to colleagues who want to reach out for a chat, information, or signposting to relevant support services.

It’s become one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. I’ll go further. My involvement in the mental health and wellbeing working group has become the single most rewarding aspect of my job, eclipsing the technical role in personal significance. I’m particularly excited to be involved in arranging mental health first aid training for others within the company.

Mental health first aid (MHFA) is certificated training delivered by trainers affiliated to Mental Health First Aid England or equivalent organisations around the world. I’ve described my experience taking the training previously. You can read how it equipped me to work in the mental health arena on the Mental Health First Aid England blog.

A healthy workplace is one which fosters an environment where we all feel able to talk with our peers, team leaders, and management. You don’t need to have completed special training to do this of course, but our mental health first aiders provide confidential points of contact. As I mentioned earlier, we offer confidential conversation, information, and signposting to support services provided within and by the company, as well as external organisations and professionals.

I hope colleagues throughout our organisation feel able to reach out to us without feeling they are imposing on our time or interfering with the techie side of our role. In my case at least, that’s never going to be an issue. There’s literally nothing more important to me than these kind of conversations.

So, what was the question that resonated so strongly with me?

Would you rather [insert any work-related task here] or have a conversation about mental health with a colleague?

I think we know the answer to that one!


Get Involved

Time to Talk Day 2020 is Thursday February 6, 2020. To get involved check out the Time to Change website. Share why you’re choosing to talk about mental health by using #TimeToTalk on your social media posts. Follow #TimeToTalk on Twitter and Instagram, and reply to and share posts. Oh, and have fun!


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