‘Tea and talk’ on World Mental Health Day

1oth October 2016 is World Mental Health Day – the day when The World Health Organisation takes the opportunity to raise world-mental-health-day-2013-small.PNG“awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health.” 

This day draws attention to the good work being done by charitable organisations like the Mental Health Foundation who run a fund-raising campaign called ‘tea and talk’ to coincide with the date and Time to Change who run their Time to Talk campaign all year round.

However, all too often we talk about mental health in abstract terms.  We awkwardly refer to someone with a ‘mental health problem’ while much less frequently using the label of a ‘physical health problem’; rather just saying specifically what the issue is.

Unfortunately, like it or not, there is still a stigma attached to mental health in a way that there is not when discussing someone’s physical health.   Even the statistics that are meant to normalise these conversations like:

1 in 6 WMHD.jpg

still pigeonhole people into those who ‘have a problem’ and those, it follows, who don’t.

Why does it have to be this way?

I hold my hands up that I am not in the peak of physical fitness at the moment.  There is nothing dreadfully wrong with me but I have a few aches and pains and could do with doing some more exercise and eating less sugar.

What if I were able to discuss my current mental well-being in similar terms?

If someone were to ask me ‘how have you been recently?’ would it be okay for me to say “well there’s nothing dreadfully wrong with me but my anxiety levels could be lower and there are some times in the month when I have a tendency to feel a little overwhelmed?”

Surely, if we were all more precise in how we express ourselves when it comes to discussing our own mental health, then the  conversations could come more easily and there would be greater honesty, warmth, empathy and openness in our interactions.

The first post I ever wrote was about trying to be more open about discussing mental health and encouraging others, especially the students I work with, to do the same.   Yet still I find myself avoiding the conversations.  I read candid and valuable blog posts about the topic like this guest post on the Mum Reviews blog and yet I cannot put my own experiences into words.

I’m hoping tomorrow at the ‘twins club’ playgroup that we go to every Monday I will fit in a bit of ‘tea and talk’.   It may not be me sharing the whole history of my own ‘mental health’ problems but it will at least be a time to listen to other parents discuss their well-being and to open up a little about my ‘ups and downs’ too.

In the process we will raise some money for the Mental Health Foundation and also find a  few minutes to support each others’ efforts to optimise our mental well-being.

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During the morning it’s more than likely that someone may ask me about Mindfulness.   Writing the blog has been one way to help me feel more comfortable about ‘talking’ to people about being mindful.  Previously I was a little shy about speaking of in case people thought I was a bit of a ‘hippy’, slightly mad/strange or both.  Yet I knew I wanted more of my friends, colleagues and others around me too, to know the benefits of Mindfulness as it is all too often misunderstood.  Yes, it is being used as a treatment for common mental illnesses like depression and anxiety but it can also just be a way of leading a mentally healthier life too.

Basically I like to see Mindfulness as a way of boosting my immune system.  It’s just not not the ‘physical one’ that fights coughs, colds and other nasties.  Instead, in my mind, mindfulness boosts the ’emotional immune system’ – the one that helps us fight the dark thoughts and negative feelings that can consume any one of us from time to time.

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If you can, try and find something today that may help boost your own ’emotional immune system’.

Maybe you’ll finally find out a bit more about Mindfulness.  You may read the Mental Health Foundation’s advice about mindfulness or maybe read my post outlining some of the basics of mindfulness  or another post giving some tips about how to build mindful activities into a busy parenting day.

Or you may decide that something else may work better for you at the moment – Mindfulness is not for everyone, but whatever it is that you decide upon, stick at it.

Good luck. xx

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37 Comments

  1. October 9, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    This is a really useful post. Your comments on how we discuss our physical and mental health are very useful for putting things in perspective. And as always, I find your blog posts on mindfulness very helpful to me personally. Thanks for the pingback. x

    • October 9, 2016 / 10:28 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and I’m so pleased that you find the posts on Mindfulness useful. x

  2. onesagemama
    October 10, 2016 / 3:24 am

    This is such an important topic to talk about. I’m glad you are trying to spread awareness! I struggle with mental illness and this post was helpful and supportive. Keep up the great work. So glad I found you through #eatsleepblogrt! All the best!

  3. October 10, 2016 / 12:14 pm

    I like the idea of using mindfulness as a prevention as well as a treatment. It is so true that we can talk about our physical health so much easier. Great post. #eatsleepblogRT

    • October 10, 2016 / 2:01 pm

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment. x

    • October 10, 2016 / 10:30 pm

      Thank you – yes we must look after our ‘whole’ self x

  4. October 10, 2016 / 7:19 pm

    I think mindfulness is so important. I think I kinda do things backwards though, I was feeling overwhelmed today so went for a walk to calm down. Instead of focusing my thoughts on being calm and grateful etc, I let myself dwell on the troubles and worries that were bothering me. For the length of my walk I was wallowing in self-pity. Then when I got home I walked back through the door leaving all those thoughts outside, feeling refreshed, more patient and calm. It doesn’t always work like that, but I think it was interesting that sometimes doing it backwards can help too! xx #bigpinklink

    • October 10, 2016 / 10:30 pm

      So sorry you were feeling overwhelmed today but so good that you found away of helping yourself feel better. I think mindfulness is about choosing when you want to be grounded in the present or as you rightly say when you want to ‘explore the difficulty’ you are feeling right then…. so I think you were being mindful today, just in a more complex way!!! It’s not just about shunning the difficult thoughts, but more about ‘unpacking them’ and that’s why it’s so different to other forms of ‘meditation’. Hope you continue to feel better. Thanks for the super, long comment. xx

  5. October 10, 2016 / 7:53 pm

    #eatsleepblogrt love tea and talk, fab idea and I agree we can’t talk about taboos enough. After all we all experience trauma, climaxes and everything in between – sharing is caring

  6. Alana - Burnished Chaos
    October 10, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    This is such a great post, I love the way you compared how we talk about our physical wellbeing with how we talk about our mental wellbeing. We should all be able to talk more openly and freely about these issues so as to remove some of the anxiety surrounding them. We’ve just started using a weekly quote or saying on our noticeboard that helps us change perspective when we need a quick lift and I’ve been blogging about it to. Well done for raising awareness for such an important cause x
    #Bigpinklink

    • October 10, 2016 / 10:26 pm

      Thank you Alana. I read your blog post about the weekly quote and wrote ‘stop and smile’ on our blackboard as a result – it’s working for all of the family so far and prompted a valuable conversation between me, the eldest and my hubby so thank you for that and these kind comments too. xx

      • Alana - Burnished Chaos
        October 11, 2016 / 7:01 am

        Wow, thank you, so glad I offered a little inspiration, you’ve brought a tear to my eye x

  7. October 10, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    This is a great post, I often say we need to look after and work on our mental health the same way as we do our physical health. I hope that people do feel more able to be open around these issues and that these campaigns make a positive difference. Thank you for sharing a bit of your own experience. #bigpinklink

    • October 12, 2016 / 10:10 pm

      Ah thanks so much for a lovely, supportive comment. x

  8. randommusings29
    October 12, 2016 / 3:35 pm

    Great post. I agree that mental health is often still stigmatized in a way physical health just isn’t. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and can happen to anyone, and until we all start talking more openly about it, it’s going to remain a stigma
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

    • October 12, 2016 / 10:09 pm

      Thanks Debbie – yes you’re right we do need to start talking about it more in order to end the stigma. x

  9. October 13, 2016 / 8:11 pm

    Love the idea of tea and talk – I think the main problem is that we struggle to be open with people about how we really feel mentally. Its hard to trust someone to open up and tell them how you are really doing #eatsleepblogrt

    • October 14, 2016 / 2:45 pm

      Yep you’re so right there Zoe. Thanks so much for commenting. xx

  10. October 14, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    I really really like the idea of boosting your emotional immune system. I
    Find it hard to talk about my emotional well being because in my last work place it was really discouraged and seen as negativity. I got used to acting like I was fine. There needs to be massive changes in the workplace too make people feeel more comfortable and confident to share. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

    • October 14, 2016 / 2:42 pm

      That sounds a tough environment to work in Catie – very sad when people are so unempathetic. I agree there are still massive changes needed. Thanks, as always for reading and commenting. x

  11. October 15, 2016 / 10:52 am

    This post is so great, raising awareness around this issue is key to get rid of the stigma attached.

    #fortheloveofBLOG

  12. October 15, 2016 / 10:50 pm

    Mindfulness is so important, sometimes we concentrate so much on keeping our ‘physical’ selves well that we forget about emotional well being. This post has really reminded me to stop and be more mindful, thank you! Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

  13. October 21, 2016 / 10:24 pm

    It’s good to talk, it might be hard for the individual to talk about it to others, but when they do I’m sure it helps. You are such a kind person to offer support for others, I really hope that mindfulness helps. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    • October 22, 2016 / 8:15 am

      Ah and thank you for such a kind and thoughtful comment (as always). xx

  14. October 14, 2017 / 9:03 am

    The more people who talk about it the more normal it becomes. Great post. 👍

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 15, 2017 / 10:34 pm

      Agreed – thank you

  15. Dave - Dad's Turn
    October 14, 2017 / 9:58 am

    Poor mental health has had a big impact on my wider family and they’ve not yet had a good experience even with the health services, who should know better. More awareness the better! #satsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 15, 2017 / 10:34 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that Dave – yes we need to raise awareness. Thanks for commenting.

  16. Imperfect Mum
    October 14, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    I love the idea of mindfulness boosting your immune system. Talking about mental
    Health is so important in reducing that stigma but boy is it hard 🌸 #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 15, 2017 / 10:32 pm

      Soooo hard – thanks for commenting xx

  17. October 15, 2017 / 4:55 am

    Beautiful post. Something we all have to improve on. You’re right, people don’t like to talk about/discuss mental health issues, it gets awkward and they don’t really know what to say to the person who’s sharing. Perhaps because we don’t know how to give advice on it (example, depression) that we don’t know the appropriate response. Whereas if someone says they’re gaining weight, we can dote out 50 diets/exercise routines/recipes to them fearlessly. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 15, 2017 / 10:31 pm

      So true sweetie – thanks for commenting xx

  18. October 16, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    You are my online booster, however I feel one of the most powerful sentences in this post is talking…it’s a good start to working things out. I’m always surprised at how revealing the most simple of conversations can be. Mindfulness is pretty awesome and I love your analogy

    • onamindfulmummymission
      October 19, 2017 / 8:39 pm

      Thanks honey – that is so sweet of you to say and yes simple conversations can lead to revelations and we mustn’t forget this in our busy schools and workplaces xx

  19. October 19, 2017 / 9:57 pm

    Certainly more should be done so that mental health is not seen as a taboo or a way of singling out people. Every single person has a mind and needs to look after it so lets pull together and break down the unknown fear. #thesatsesh

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