The Sport and Recreation Alliance is supporting the Time to Talk campaign, as a survey of more than 7,000 people with mental health problems shows that nearly two thirds are left feeling isolated (64%), worthless (61%) and ashamed (60%) because of the stigma and discrimination they have faced.
Time to Talk day, organised by the Time to Change campaign, is asking the nation to have more open conversations about mental health to tackle the stigma.
Despite the devastating effects of stigma, the survey ¬– the biggest of its kind – found progress has been made with over half of respondents (57%) saying it’s easier to talk about mental health problems than in previous years. 60% of people also felt better once they did start to talk about their mental health problems, saying they felt relieved and like a weight had been lifted.
More than a thousand organisations will take part in Time to Talk Day including O2, Royal Mail, the FA and Everton Football Club. As well as this, 500 secondary schools alongside universities and colleges, councils, national government departments and community organisations will be joining in.
The Sport and Recreation Alliance will be conducting internal staff sessions on the day to discuss mental health and have created a mental health working group over the past few months.
Externally, the Alliance continues to ask its members and the wider sector to support the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation. The Charter, launched in March last year, has received over 200 signatories who are now in the process of submitting their action plans as to how they will implement that Charter.
As part of Time to Talk Day, people are being asked to take part in a nationwide competition to see which county can have the most conversations about mental health. Once people have had their conversations they will be asked to log them on an interactive online map at www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday, which will be updated in real time to show which counties are talking the most throughout the day.
A short film is also being launched online to show the kinds of conversations that can make a big difference, supported by online and radio advertising. 48,000 tea bags and coasters – encouraging people to have a cup of tea and a chat – will be handed out with the Metro newspaper at London Victoria, Liverpool Street, Waterloo, Bristol Temple Meads and Liverpool
Lime Street stations. On Time to Change’s website there are tips and tools to help people have their conversations.
Emma Boggis, CEO of Sport and Recreation Alliance, said:
“Time to Talk Day is challenging us to get talking about mental health and this is something we are very passionate about at the Alliance. We are currently working with our members towards the one year anniversary of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation. The Charter aims to encourage the sector to be more open when discussing mental health and to have plans in place to be able to support those in need. Signatories of the Charter are and will continue to develop actions plans to implement the core objectives behind the Charter and use their reach and profile to help raise awareness of programmes used in Sport and Recreation to support mental health.”
Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said:
“This survey shows that stigma is still having a huge impact on how people feel about themselves and holding back their lives. We have got to continue to make progress, show that mental health isn’t something to be ashamed of and tackle the causes of stigma and discrimination.
“Having a day when we encourage the nation to talk about mental health collectively can give people the confidence to have these conversations and show that you don’t have to be an expert on mental health. We need to replace silence and stigma with talking, greater understanding and support.”
Find out more about how sports organisations are using the Charter to promote good mental health practices in our latest blogs.