Starting on World Mental Health Day (10 October), YMCA Norfolk is urging everyone across Norfolk to break the silence over mental health by initiating small but meaningful conversations with friends, colleagues and even strangers as part of their Small Talks, Big Difference initiative.
Everyone struggles at times with their mental health, especially over the past 18 months, and yet speaking openly about it can still feel like an extremely daunting prospect. To help make this a little easier, YMCA Norfolk are asking people to take 15 minutes of their day this October for Tea Talks, and have devised a simple T.A.L.K. plan to kick things off:
Take the time to engage and check in with those around you; Ask twice about how they are feeling to break through the common ‘I’m fine’ response; Learn to listen by being patient and don’t cut people off; and Keep it up –don’t stop after one chat, keep checking in with each other. Click here to find the full T.A.L.K method.
As part of their T.A.L.K. plan, packages will be available for Tea Talks in local YMCAs across England and Wales, including tea bags and key cards with questions and tips for initiating and progressing positive small talks to help tackle the big issue of mental health.
Viki Bainsfair, Wellbeing Engagement Worker for YMCA Norfolk said: “Mental health means different things to different people, but a resounding and uniting element is the need for support, openness, and continued work to remove the stigma from one of the most debilitating illnesses affecting so many people right now. “We are proud to be promoting this campaign to the wider local community. As part of the work that we already do, we are excited to be sharing this message and guidance with local partners through William’s Kitchen and our residences across Norfolk. Our staff across YMCA Norfolk are also encouraged to participate, including leadership who will be implementing Tea and Talks into their meetings.
“Small Talks is about breaking down barriers and breaking the silence in order to do just that. In taking the time to have these conversations and ensure that we all make ourselves available to listen, everyone can have a positive impact on the mental health of those around them.
“Through our Tea Talks and T.A.L.K. guide, YMCA Norfolk is encouraging people to check in regularly, creating a vital support network of people to help lighten the load, not just on World Mental Health Day, but all year round.”
Alongside their usual work with young people – such as Men’s Walk and Talk with residents through partner program On Track, YMCA Norfolk staff are set to deliver workshops dealing with mental health, including a webinar hosted by AQA and a wellbeing day with the pupils of Springwood Academy.
YMCA Norfolk addresses a range of issues facing young people and families across the county, from accommodation and workshops to simply someone to talk to or a helping hand. The 341 young residents and 290 families helped and housed by the organisation in the last year have taken part in thousands of sessions, with 99% of residents feeling able to talk to staff about their wellbeing and concerns. Small Talks aims to broaden this umbrella and spark positive discussion in the wider community.