Open up on #TimetoTalk Day 2023

Today is Time to Talk Day, a day dedicated to breaking the silence around mental health. It’s a reminder that it’s important to check in on our mental health and the mental health of those around us. But let’s not limit these conversations to just one day a year. Let’s make it a daily practice to check in with ourselves and each other.

We’re taking this opportunity to remind everyone that it’s okay to not be okay and encourage you to reach out for support if you need it. Here are some general tips for maintaining good mental health.

  1. Take care of your physical health by eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.

  2. Connect with others, this could be through face-to-face conversations, phone calls or virtual chats.

  3. Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga. There are some great options online including Yoga with Adriene and the Calm app.

  4. Set realistic goals and work towards achieving them.

  5. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help.

Listening tips

Although it is Time to Talk Day, it’s also important to consider the people who listen and offer support.

At different times in life we may need to talk, at others, we may take on the role of listener and supporter. Both sides of this equation can be challenging and rewarding in different ways. Listening can feel draining or can impact your own wellbeing, but it can also help you feel connected and positive about your impact on others.

However, sometimes it can be hard to know how to reach out and talk to a someone who may be struggling with their mental health. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be direct and honest. Let your friend know that you’re there for them and that you are worried about their well-being.

  2. Actively listen. Give your friend the space to share their thoughts and feelings, without judgement.

  3. Validate their feelings. Let them know that it’s okay to feel the way they do and remind them that they are not alone.

  4. Offer support. Let your friend know that there are people and resources available to help them (see resource list below).

  5. Encourage them to speak to a professional. Sometimes talking to a therapist or counsellor can be the best way to get them the help they need.

There are many charities out there who provide support and resources for people facing mental health issues. Some of these include:

  • Mind: Offers advice and support for better mental health.

  • Samaritans: Provides confidential emotional support to anyone in distress or finding it hard to cope. Samaritans are available to speak to 24 hours a day, all year long. Call them on 116 123 (free from any phone).

  • Rethink Mental Illness: Works to improve the lives of people affected by severe mental illness. Call them on 0808 801 0525 (between 9:30am and 4pm, Monday-Friday). If you want to webchat instead, visit this link between 10am and 1pm, Monday-Friday.

  • SANEline: If you are supporting someone with mental health problems or going through a mental health problem yourself, call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (lines are open between 4:30pm and 10:30pm everyday).

  • Campaign against living miserably (CALM). Call the team on 0800 58 58 58 between 5pm and midnight, the lines are open every day. If you’d rather not speak on the phone, CALM have their own webchat service.

  • Your GP: Don’t forget, your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

If you, or someone you know is struggling with mental health, reach out to these charities, other support organisations or friends and family for help. Remember, talking about mental health is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It’s Time to Talk.

Time to Talk at court

Communicourt specialises in facilitating communication for individuals going through court proceedings. We see first-hand the very high levels of stress that court users can experience, and the toll legal proceedings can take on people’s mental health. In turn, this can negatively impact upon communication. 

From communicating with court users with mental health difficulties at some of the most difficult moments of their lives, our intermediaries are skilled in supporting people to talk at difficult moments.

Here are some lessons we’ve learned about really listening at court…

  1. Build rapport and create a safe and comfortable environment to enable effective communication.

  2. Allow time for clear communication and actively encourage court users to express themselves.

  3. Be aware of emotional dysregulation and provide support in a non-judgemental and empathetic way. Consider whether the individual needs a break and ask about strategies which can help them at difficult moments (whether that’s taking a walk, listening to music, doing a mindful activity or speaking to a supportive loved one).

  4. Ensure court users understand the legal proceedings and the court process.

  5. Empower court users to take control of their own mental wellbeing. Provide them with the resources (e.g., stress balls or fidget objects) they need to cope with the stress and uncertainty of a court case.

At Communicourt, we see first-hand how mental health difficulties can impact an individual’s ability to navigate the legal system. To find out more about the intermediary role, explore our website or visit The Access Brief (a free library of resources for legal professionals working with clients who have communication difficulties, including mental health difficulties).

On The Access Brief, you will find free downloadable guides on topics including supporting emotional regulation, assisting clients who have a range of diagnoses and what it’s like to work with an intermediary at all stages of family and criminal proceedings.