The importance of talking to combat mental health and loneliness

Time to Talk Day is the UK’s largest mental health conversation, ran by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, in partnership with Co-op.

Sometimes, a conversation is all it takes. And, this Time to Talk Day, as a leading care provider, the entire team at Radis Community Care continue to encourage the people we support to start a conversation so that they don’t suffer in silence.

In many cases, conversations about mental health can be hard but it doesn’t always have to be that way. We are firm believers in making things interactive and engaging so that conversations happen naturally, authentically and are a little less daunting for all involved.

For some of our residents, they may not have any friends or family members close by, therefore rely on the time and company of our carers.

Kris Oughton, our newly appointed National Activities Lead, explains the importance of connecting with those who need support.

“Talking is so important and there are more ways to start a conversation, than by simply starting a conversation.

“I’ve been an Activities Co-ordinator for a few years at Radis, and have noticed such a big difference in the way people communicate when they’re involved in activities.”

Kris’s new role consists of creating fun and engaging activity programmes for services across England and Wales.

From hosting knit and natter clubs, music and movement classes, quizzes, bingo and a breakfast club, we host our activities all year round – to ensure the conversation continues far beyond just one day.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. So, here’s a checklist on how to check in with your loved ones and start a conversation about mental health.

  1. Check in with them

Ask how they’re doing – how they’re really doing. And if you feel the need, ask twice. Use open-ended questions to get more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and subtly encourage those conversations.

  1. Put the kettle on

It might sound cliché, and we know that it doesn’t actually fix anything, but sometimes all people want or need is a cup of a tea, a slice of cake and a bit of company. In this case, it’s about much more than a cup of tea, but what goes with it – the conversation that follows, being put at ease and having that bit of comfort.

  1. Read between the lines

Some people aren’t big talkers, so look out for some other signs that they may be struggling. Are they quieter than usual, do they seem withdrawn or distant? Look out for physical symptoms, too. This can include lack of appetite, insomnia and restlessness.

  1. Offer reassurance

Not everybody will want to talk – but in these instances, it is perhaps even more important to offer reassurance. Let them know you’re there for them, leave a leaflet for them to read through, and reassure them that they aren’t alone.

  1. Listen

When somebody opens up to you, or begins to start those important conversations about mental health and loneliness, ensure that you really listen. And importantly, take the time to react appropriately.

 

At Radis, we believe it is crucial for the people we support to feel relaxed, comfortable and at home with our carers. And by getting involved in our various activities, this allows people to switch off and this is when the conversations can really start.

Many of our clients utilise our services to combat loneliness, and often, when you think of a carer, you think of them taking care of a person’s physical health. But quite often, carers are a lifeline to those battling with mental health issues and loneliness, too.

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