Tag Archives: #timetotalk

Using colourful Pom-poms to remember Holly #TimetoTalk

Having five brothers and one sister means that I am lucky to have lots of glorious nieces and nephews, and, nowadays, great nieces and great nephews. I am a bit like “Great Uncle Bulgaria” in the Wombles.

But last July, we lost one of my nieces, Holly (pictured, right). Never mind me being her uncle, Holly’s passing has, of course, devastated her close family.

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#timetotalk – Supporting Children’s Mental Health

Today is Time To Talk Day – a day to talk about mental health with friends, family and colleagues. Time to Change organises #timetotalk on the first Thursday in February each year. Lib Dem Voice would love to have your stories and thoughts on mental health – please send them in and we will post as many as possible.

I will start with a post on children and mental health – we most likely won’t get any submissions from children today, but to me, getting children’s mental health care right is paramount.

Half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with 75% by age 24.” And the alarming statistics continue. “Suicide is the most common cause of death for boys aged between 5-19 years, and the second most common for girls of this age.” Unless we get mental health care right during childhood, we are condemning many to a lifetime of mental ill-health.

Early diagnosis and treatment can change lives. If proper help and support are given to children when they first exhibit signs of mental ill-health, long-term prognosis improves dramatically.

There is currently a government inquiry on a green paper on this subject: Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision. It is being overseen by both the Parliamentary Health and Education Select Committees:

The Education and Health Select Committees recognise that the provision of mental health services to children and young people is of vital importance to safeguarding their wellbeing. Good mental health is not only of great value in itself, but it allows young people to take greater advantage of educational opportunities.

In light of the publication of the Government’s green paper on Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision, the House of Commons Select Committees on Health and Education have agreed to launch a joint inquiry to scrutinise the proposed scope and implementation of the green paper, and to follow up on their previous recommendations.

A huge amount of evidence was published on Tuesday with links here.

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How you can support LDV’s #timetotalk Day posts

You can’t be truly free if you are constantly fighting illness without the support that you need. That is why Liberal Democrats are so passionate about making sure that people have the right mental health support.

For five years during the coalition years, Liberal Democrat ministers were at the helm of pushing through positive change. Norman Lamb, as the Minister responsible, totally got it. Of the many things he did, the Crisis Care Concordat was a really good example of helping people when they most needed it .

He also fought for parity of esteem between physical and mental health.

In doing this he had the full backing of Nick as Deputy Prime Minister who made sure that he put as much funding as he could into mental health.

What I liked most about Norman’s many interviews on this subject, though, was his forthrightness. Rather than pretend everything was fantastic, he always said that what was happening wasn’t good enough and what he wanted to change.

Every year on the first Thursday in February, Time to Change hold Time to Talk Day. It’s aimed at ending the stigma around mental health and enabling people to be more open about the impact that mental ill health has on them.

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Lib Dem parliamentarians mark #timetotalk day

Today has been Time to Talk day, Time for Change’s annual initiative to get more people to talk about mental health. It’s something we’ve done to great effect over the last couple of years. You can read the many moving and personal articles our readers have written here.

One Liberal Democrat parliamentarian who was definitely talking about mental health today was Welsh AM Eluned Parrott. She led a debate in the Senedd this afternoon.

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Take part in #timetotalk day on Lib Dem Voice

Every year, the first Thursday in February sees Time to Talk Day, run by Time to Change. The idea is to get people talking about mental health and share their experiences with the aim of ending the stigma that people face.

For the last two years, we at LDV have taken part in the event and our readers have produced some outstanding pieces. You can read them all here.

Two years ago, Eleanor Draycott wrote about her experience of living with BiPolar:

Many people don’t understand what being Bi-polar actually means, I guess this is why I’m putting this down on paper. The most basic knowledge the population has is that someone with this illness “suffers from” extreme highs and lows and this is certainly true. One day I can be the life and soul of the party, extremely talkative, wanting to go out and embrace the world with open arms. But the next I can be so down that getting out of bed seems like an insurmountable task. There has never been any pattern to my highs and lows, either can last for days, weeks or months. Before I was on the right combination of medication, in my manic stages I wouldn’t sleep for as long as they lasted. I was always out partying, dancing, drinking, behaving recklessly, spending money I didn’t have on ridiculous items I would never need if I lived to be one hundred. I would sit up for hours writing pages and pages of rambling thoughts in notebooks, that made no sense when I came down and my mind wasn’t racing, but which at the time of writing I was convinced contained the answer to world peace.

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Thank you for your contributions to the #timetotalk theme yesterday

Time to talk 2015Thank you to everyone who wrote on the #timetotalk theme yesterday. We published 14 posts on the subject, with others added to the comments. You gave us some amazing contributions, some of which must have been really difficult to write.

Time to Talk was an opportunity to give a human face to mental health, so that some of the taboos and myths could be knocked on the head. It was particularly appropriate this year, given that the Liberal Democrats are giving such a high prominence to mental health in our manifesto and election campaign.  So we were pleased that Norman Lamb, the Health Minister, gave us his own relections and Paul Burstow provided some background about mental health services for children and young people.

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Opinion: How the UK immigration system damaged my mental health #timetotalk

Time to talk 2015I wanted to talk a bit about how immigrating to the UK has affected my mental health, because both mental health and immigration are subjects on which I ‎look to the Lib Dems to support me with, via good policies and campaigning.

I’ve been in the UK nine years now, but when I’m standing in that non-EU passports line (I’ve long been eligible for citizenship but I can’t afford the application fees), I can’t help but hear similar interrogations going on to the ones I remember when I first came here and was interrogated by a big scary scouser for two hours– how long are you staying? how much money have you got with you? — I can’t help but think “that’s how it started…”

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My struggle with depression #timetotalk

Time to talk 2015University, for many, is a truly liberating, exciting experience. University gives you a chance to be independent for the first time, to get away from home, to meet new people from a range of backgrounds and a chance to throw yourself into new experiences in a new place in a different part of the country.

However, for many to start with, myself included, it can also be extremely daunting. I still remember seeing all of my belongings sitting in my front room ready to be carted off. Before then, I had been putting it off in my mind that I had to go and had not considered what it would be like to be leaving. I had a happy, settled home life, with a close group of friends, a great girlfriend and a loving family. Suddenly, I had to leave. My whole life had to be put into the boot of a car and moved 200 miles away. My friends, my family and my girlfriend, would all be scattered across the country and I was going to have to make a new start in a different place away from them. Although for some this is an exciting prospect, for me it was one that filled me with worry and trepidation.

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Opinion: It’s #timetotalk day today

Time to talk 2015What is that? It’s a day aimed at de-stigmatising mental health issues. As we’ve heard from Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb, as many as 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues. Most people are too afraid to mention them to anyone – they are afraid it will jeopardise their relationships, lead to their employers firing them (as happened to one worker), or make things worse and make them feel judged by colleagues or friends.

No-one would feel embarrassed and refuse to deal with or acknowledge a broken wrist, an upset stomach or a migraine – so what makes mental health different? The only way we can deal with stigma is to open up about our mental health experiences, so I will open up about mine.

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Opinion: Don’t tell me to cheer up

Time to talk 2015My name is Sarah and I am diagnosed with depression. I guess the diagnosis didn’t come as a surprise, I’ve always felt, well, kinda sad. I have been on medication now for over a year and sometimes I wonder if I will ever beat this thing.

It makes me angry when people tell me to “cheer up”, or “get over it” yeah how about you try “getting over” diabetes or a broken arm. My illness might not always have physical symptoms and it might be “all in my head” but it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

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Opinion: The worst day of my life #timetotalk

Time to talk 2015The worst day of my life was January 12th 2012. I got up in the morning feeling nervous like every day for months on end. I had been prescribed Citalopram for depression, but it wasn’t really cutting it and I was terrible at taking it anyway.

I went into work as normal. My job was to teach 15 year olds who had been expelled from school. I taught at a Further Education College in Kent. I was due to be moved to another department soon because I had said I wasn’t coping.

My manager had spotted the self harm scars on my arms and had asked me to cover up. That along with the disciplinary issues, and feeling like I had no support, had led to the depression and the planned move to another department.

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Norman Lamb MP writes…Thanks for talking #timetotalk

Time to talk 2015Regular readers will be used to me banging my drum on these pages about the work that Lib Dems are doing in government on mental health.

Mental health has been disadvantaged within the NHS for far too long, and changes like legislating for equality for mental health, introducing the first access and waiting time standards, and – in particular – confronting the poor state of children’s mental health services in many places are all incredibly important.

But something just as important has been happening here on Lib Dem Voice today.

I wrote here about Time to Talk a year ago, saying that contributions from fellow members had reinforced for me, powerfully, why I am a Liberal Democrat. Tackling mental health stigma is fundamentally about freedom – freedom from poverty, ignorance, and conformity.

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Opinion: It’s #timetotalk about mental health and to act too

Time to talk 2015I am a Lib Dem supporter (most of the time), who has been commenting below the line on Lib Dem Voice for a few years and I have suffered from severe anxiety and depression. I still have anxieties that affect me every day, but they are reducing and I find that doing something new, even a small act such as submitting an article on here, helps me to recover and move on.

It is hard to talk about mental health, but perhaps you will find that there are more people willing to listen than you think. Help is always available from the NHS or charities such as Mind,  Rethink Mental Illness  and Samaritans.

I am so used to commenting below the line that I feel ready to finish my article after only 150 words ☺. I will begin to wrap up, as I don’t want to try to do too much, but before I finish I just want to highlight the good work that Lib Dems such as Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb have been doing in this area.

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Paul Burstow MP writes…We must transform mental health services for young people #timetotalk

Time to talk 2015From day one of this government, Lib Dems have prioritised mental health, so long neglected and overlooked by previous governments. In 2011, I published the Coalition Government’s mental health strategy, No Health Without Mental Health. Four years on, that strategy has been translated into action by a succession of initiatives. Investing in expanding the adult talking therapies (IAPT) programme, building from scratch a children’s IAPT programme, putting in place liaison and diversion services investing in liaison psychiatry, the first ever waiting time standards for mental health and Nick’s announcement of an ambition for zero-suicides across the NHS.

Achieving parity of esteem is never going to be a quick win, we are making real progress and helping to set the agenda for any future government. Thanks to the Lib Dems there is now a challenge on mental health, and, with the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Task Force established by Norman Lamb reporting in March, there is an opportunity to establish a roadmap for real reform for children and young people in the next parliament.

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Opinion: Sharing my story about mental health #timetotalk

Time to talk 2015I’ve always been a really healthy person, well on the outside anyway!

During my adult life there has probably only been half a dozen years when I haven’t either been under the care of the community mental health team, receiving some sort of talking therapy or taking medication for mental health conditions.

As a child I was always the one who struggled with emotions, my dad was the same and two of my daughters display similar traits.  It turns out that we have a chemical imbalance in our brain which makes coping with stress a bit tricky and when combined with other factors in life can send you completely over the edge.  Add in a new baby, financial crisis, bereavement or family breakup and you’re well on the way to a nervous breakdown.

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Opinion: He told me I was ordinary #timetotalk

Time to talk 2015Hi, my name is Alex. I’m an 18 year old who loves travelling, ABBA and wearing waistcoats for no apparent reason.

I’ve also got a mental illness.

The psychiatrists aren’t quite sure what it is. For a while they thought it was Bipolar Disorder, now they are starting to think it’s Borderline Personality Disorder. I’m a bit of a curious case.

I suffer from intense emotions: anxiety, anger, sadness, happiness etc. I have too much of all of them and switch between them at the drop of a hat. It makes me unpredictable and sometimes unreasonable. I store things up until I burst. Being my friend is difficult. You have to get used to the odd paranoid outburst and over enthusiasm when I’m in a very good mood.

One day a teacher did something to set me off. He’d joked about one of my habits – I still suck my thumb because it helps me feel safe – in front of my class. I took myself off to the bathrooms and burst into hysterical sobbing. I used my nails to scratch my arms red raw and kicked at the wall until my leg tired.

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It was a Monday in November 2000…#timetotalk

Time to talk 2015It was a Monday in November 2000 around 11am at work. My boss put his head round the corner:

“Have you got a moment, please Paul?”

“Yes, sure”, I replied.

I followed my manager, another Paul, to a room where a member of our Human Resources group was sitting. The long and the short of it was that they wanted me to take a week off work as paid leave and arrange for free counselling for me. I agreed. Boss Paul, bless him, drove me home in his posh BMW and waited around for my wife to come home so he could explain the situation to her, so she wasn’t “spooked”. (Her first reaction was that I was being sacked, but fortunately he was able to reassure her).

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Opinion: Mental health problems in the workplace: prevention is better than cure #timetotalk

Time to talk 2015It is good to see that increased openness about mental health issues is leading employers to become more accommodating towards people who have such issues. However, there is one policy issue which needs more consideration, and that is the question of how we prevent working conditions and management practices which cause mental health issues in the first place.

Stress and anxiety are some of the most common triggers of mental health problems: the demands of many jobs and detrimental management practices, sometimes combined with an unhealthy work-life (im-)balance, are often a trigger for such problems. What always amazes me is that we can have health and safety regimes concerning physical health which have now gone so far that people joke about them – (but which really have made the world of work much safer), while many employers still seem to take little notice of working conditions which have a detrimental impact on workers’ mental wellbeing.

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An introduction to #timetotalk day

Time to talk 2015As I said last night, we are marking the Time to Change campaign’s #timetotalk day today to encourage all our readers to take 5 minutes out of their day to have a conversation about mental health. We have a series of thought provoking articles and it may be that, like last year, some more come in on the day.

I’m going to kick off with a brief post along the lines of that covering the themes suggested by the Time to Change campaign.

My name is Caron and I have experienced Depression and Anxiety on and off since I was a child. I’m currently in the middle of the worst episode of Depression I’ve had in 12 years.

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Tomorrow, it’s #timetotalk about mental health on Liberal Democrat Voice

We already talk quite a lot about mental health on Liberal Democrat Voice, but tomorrow we want to have a specific focus on the issue as part of Time to Change’s Time to Talk Day. They are asking all of us to take 5 minutes to have a conversation about mental health.

We are looking for contributions from readers, whether it’s sharing ideas or experiences to post on the site tomorrow. Please send them to [email protected]. Ideally, they should be somewhere between 300-500 words, but feel free to be creative. If you want to share a video, or a graphic, that’s fine too.

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#Timetotalk: Norman Lamb MP responds…

I have been really impressed by the moving personal contributions on Lib Dem Voice today setting people’s own experience of mental health. It reminded me powerfully why I am a Liberal Democrat.  As Holly Matthies wrote, tackling mental health stigma is fundamentally about freedom – freedom from poverty, ignorance, and conformity.

Time to talk dayMental health isn’t something that happens to other people.  1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point during their life – and everyone will know someone close to them who is affected.  And we …

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Opinion: Living and working with social anxiety disorder #timetotalk

Time to talk dayI have a severe social anxiety disorder.

There. I’ve said it. In seven words I have broken one of our last taboos: I’ve spoken of mental illness.

Today across England people are coming together to talk about mental illness and help overcome the stigma that many people still face in the twenty-first century. Time to Change are hoping to inspire one million conversations about mental health within 24 hours.

I’ve written and re-written this post three times because I’m not sure what to talk about. Because there is so much to talk about! Do I talk about my social anxiety disorder and how it affects me on a daily basis? Do I talk about the stigma I face for having a mental illness? Or do I talk about how it felt to talk to someone about having a mental illness for the first time?

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Opinion: Confessions of a manic depressive #timetotalk

Time to talk dayAfter hearing/reading a lot of negative things about people with mental health issues recently first I got angry, then I got writing. This is what I came up with:

My name is Eleanor and I am Bi-Polar/Manic Depressive/crazy. Choose whichever of these you wish, everyone comes to their own conclusion eventually but they all amount to pretty much the same thing, it just depends on how negative a spin you want to put on things I suppose. I also have a phobia of tinsel and used dishcloths. This is …

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Opinion: Liberal Democrats must let our values define our approach to mental health #timetotalk

Time to talk day“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist,” Kevin Spacey tells us, and it’s a bit like that with depression too. It’s so insidious precisely because it tries to convince you it isn’t really there, that these black thoughts and difficult days are all there is for you, and that this entirely your own fault.

This is why feeling about to talk about it at all, to be open, has such power: it lessens the isolation, fights your negative thoughts about yourself with positive ones from people who love you, and helps all of us live in a better, healthier society, because Mentally Interesting people have a hell of a lot to contribute. And while fighting stigma isn’t the only problem we face, it can be as hard as dealing with the mental illness itself.

So what can we as Lib Dems do?

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Opinion: I have never told my mother I have a mental illness #timetotalk

Time to talk day

I am writing this as I read the post on Time to Talk day by Caron . These are just my personal opinions and personal experiences and should be taken only as so.

I have suffered from Hypomania for what has been the best part of my adult life; I am 25 now. I probably had it when I was a child but my mother just put it down to being  “full of energy”. Friends have also told me that I probably have ADHD and maybe some form …

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