‘Almost one in two of us keep worries and concerns to ourselves.’
Today (May 29) is National Biscuit Day, to some this may sound ridiculous but personally I think it’s great! Biscuit debates have been the subject of many of my work-place discussions, and I bonded with my team at work over my shared unicorn biscuit jar (see below). However McVitie’s have gone one step further by using this day to spread mental health awareness and ‘get the nation talking’.
Mcvitie’s have teamed up with mental health charity Mind because according to studies ‘almost one in two of us keep worries and concerns to ourselves’ and ‘a simple chat is beneficial to our minds’. So they have made it their mission to help start conversations by launching the Let’s Talk campaign. You can see the benefits of having meaningful conversations in their video experiment above.
‘One in five people who live with someone spend 10 minutes or less during a day having meaningful conversations at home.’
Happiful reported that the research carried out for this campaign found that ‘one in five people who live with someone spend 10 minutes or less during a day having meaningful conversations at home.’ These findings aren’t surprising when you think about the amount of times we spend looking at our televisions and phone screens at home.
So how are McVitie’s helping? Well McVitie’s are donating £150,000 to Mind. According to the charity, ‘the donation will contribute to eight new Time to Change Hubs and training 400 new Time to Change champions to help improve attitudes towards people experiencing mental health problems in their communities.’
We all know it’s not always easy to talk, so here I have included Mind’s top five tips for talking below.
- Starting a conversation. If you’re worried about a friend or colleague then simply asking them how they are feeling is a good start. You don’t have to set aside hours to chat and it doesn’t need to be formal, or even face-to-face. Often people find it easier to talk while doing something else – like on a walk or while cooking, or watching TV.
- What should I say? The most important thing to remember is that you don’t need to be an expert. Your friend doesn’t expect you to solve their problems, just being there will mean a lot. Take the lead and ask questions – don’t be afraid to ask how they’ve been.
- What shouldn’t I say? If someone has opened up to you try not to brush their problems under the carpet and avoid clichés like ‘it’ll pass’ or ‘what have you got to be depressed about’.
- Listen. Listening without judging can be as important and significant as talking. The fear of being judged is a huge barrier for many people speaking out about mental health. You might not understand what they’re going through but that’s ok.
- Support. If someone tells you they’re struggling there are professional support options out there. Reassure your friend that it’s ok to ask for help. You might want to help with seeking support too- going along to a GP appointment or looking up information online.