Get Your Workforce Ready for Time to Talk Day

Get Your Workforce Ready for Time to Talk Day

Time to Talk Day is designed to encourage everyone to talk about mental health. 1/4 of us are affected by mental health problems and in fact all of us have mental health, yet for many it is still a taboo topic. Around 6,000 people a year take their own lives due to mental health difficulties. It’s the biggest killer of men under 50.

Talking about mental health helps break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects us all. There are lots of different ways to have a conversation about mental health. You don’t have to be an expert to have a chat with a friend about how they feel.

The workplace makes for the perfect place to get talking about mental health. Not only is it a great opportunity to boost morale by giving employees the chance to step away from their desks and express themselves but it also encourages a culture of openness and honesty.

Here are some activities for your workplace, recommended by Time for Change:

Understanding mental health

  • Mental health pub quiz
    Suitable for: Groups
    Time: 15 minutes

    Find out how much your colleagues know about mental health.
  • Lunch and learn – mental health
    Suitable for: Groups
    Time: 45 – 60 minutes

    Get some ideas for running one or more ‘Lunch and learn’ sessions about mental health.

Supporting managers

  • Ideas for managers
    Suitable for: Individual
    Time: 10 – 30 minutes

    Suggestions that help you demonstrate value and appreciation to the staff members you manage.

Opening up conversations

  • Stream of consciousness
    Suitable for: Individuals
    This activity helps you to think about how we might find a place to start telling our experiences of stress, anxiety, low mood, or other mental health problems.
  • Secret Banta
    Suitable for: Groups
    Time: 15-20 minutes

    Secret Santa is fun during Christmas but this activity is fun and can be done all year around! Encourage people to take some time away from the workplace and do something positive for their wellbeing.
  • Tea, Toast and Chat?
    Suitable for: Groups
    Time: 15-20 minutes

    Break the work routine by holding a meetup event specifically for wellbeing.

Fighting stigma

  • Stigma word map
    Suitable for: Groups
    Time: 5 minutes

    Fill in the word map with words associated with mental health stigma, and think about how to reduce stigma when talking about mental health.


Follow these simple five steps to listen to somebody who is struggling, advised by Time for Change:

  1. Ask questions and listen

Asking questions can give the person space to express how they’re feeling and what they’re going through, and it will help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgemental – such as “how does that affect you” or “what does it feel like?”

  1. Think about the time and place

Sometimes it’s easier to talk side by side rather than face to face. So, if you do talk in person, you might want to chat while you are doing something else. You could start a conversation when you’re walking, cooking or stuck in traffic. However, don’t let the search for the perfect place put you off!

  1. Don’t try and fix it

It can be hard to see someone you care about having a difficult time but try to resist the urge to offer quick fixes to what they’re going through. Learning to manage or recover from a mental health problem can be a long journey, and they’ve likely already considered lots of different tools and strategies. Just talking can be really powerful, so unless they’ve asked for advice directly, it might be best just to listen.

  1. Treat them the same

When someone has a mental health problem, they’re still the same person as they were before. And that means when a friend or loved one opens up about mental health, they don’t want to be treated any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you’d normally do.

  1. Be patient

No matter how hard you try, some people might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through. That’s ok – the fact that you’ve tried to talk to them about it may make it easier for them to open up another time.

And there are lots of things you can do to support them even if you’re not talking:

  • Doing things together
  • Sending a text to let them know you’re thinking of them
  • Offering to help with day-to-day tasks