Time to Talk Day 2020

This week we celebrated Time to Talk day, an initiative set up by time to change, who are a social movement that want to change the way we think and act about mental health.

One in four of us experience a mental health problem in any given year, yet many who suffer from mental illness feel alone and isolated1. 2020 brings the start of a new decade and there is no better time than now to start talking about our mental health.

Talking to those around us can help us cope with our mental health and feel less isolated. You don’t need to be an expert to talk or listen, it’s a two way street. Opening up and talking about our mental issues can encourage others to do the same, helping to remove the stigma surrounding mental health.

Feeling stressed can have a negative impact on our gut by affecting the gut-brain axis, which can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating or pain2. Additionally, stress can alter the bacterial composition in the gut. This has been shown to influence mood3.  Talking to someone in a similar situation to you has been shown to reduce levels of stress4,5.

Tips for talking:

  • Ask open-ended questions to allow the person to answer freely
  • When listening try your best not to be judgemental
  • Let them share as much or as little as they want to.
  • When starting a conversation think about the environment you are in, is it appropriate?
    It may be useful to start a conversation when you are doing something else to avoid the person feeling confronted, for example when you are out on a walk or cooking dinner.
  • Talking about ways to de-stress can help, a few ideas are; going for a walk, breathing deeply or taking part in a yoga class.

For more tips on talking, click here.

Ways to get involved:

  • Host a time to talk coffee break at work.
  • Invite your friends and family to talk over a few drinks or dinner.
  • Get involved in the online time to talk conversations.
  • Write a blog about your own experience to encourage others that they are not alone.

Talking about mental health shouldn’t be just a one day event, we should make it happen all year round.

For more information please visit time-to-change.org.uk/


  1. Time to Change (2020) Time to change Available at: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day (Accessed: 04.02.2020)
  2. Miranda A.L van Tilburg (2020) Stress Effects on the Body Available at: https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress/effects-gastrointestinal (Accessed: 04.02.2020)
  3. Madison et al. (2019) Stress, depression, diet and the gut microbiota: human-bacteria interactions at the core of psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition. Current Opinion in Behaviour Sciences (28):105-110
  4. Townsend et al. (2013) Are You Feeling what I’m feeling? Emotional Similarity Buffers Stress. Social Psychology and Personality Science doi: 10.1177/1948550613511499
  5. EurekAlert! (2014) Two stressed people equals less stress Available at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-01/umso-tsp012914.php (Accessed: 04.02.2020)