We all are apprehensive of difficult conversations; whether you’re the talker, or the listener. However, more often not, the conversation often goes far better than expected. You feel lighter, unburdened if you are sharing, and you can understand the perspective of the speaker, if you are listening.

Although it’s easier said than done, sharing does lighten the load you carry. Often when are dealing with something difficult, we may overthink a situation, run and rerun situations in our head and fear the worst possible outcome. We may convince ourselves that no one will understand or listen. Yet, by sharing, you will be surprised as to how many people who surround you, be it a loved one, a stranger or even a professional who is more than willing to help. It’s just the first step that’s difficult to take; once you’ve done that, you are on your way to being supported.

Time to Talk Day is about creating safe spaces where conversations can be held with family, friends or colleagues about mental health. It can be difficult to talk about what you are going through, especially in a community where mental health is stigma. Dealing with mental health issues can be difficult, on top of the discrimination and judgement that comes along with it. It’s a day that works to help us have those difficult conversations, to reach out and connect with others.

If you have been waiting to have a conversation with someone, be it a loved one, a friend or a colleague, then use today as your first step towards that conversation. Whether you’re struggling with mental health issues, are overwhelmed at work, have fallen out with someone, or want to share something with a loved one, then work towards that conversation from today.

You may be ready to sit down and have that conversation now, or you can start by arranging a time for that conversation. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of having that discussion, then note down what you would like to say, and how you would like to do it, over the phone or in person.

Time to Talk Day can also be a day where you reach out to others who may want to have a chat with you. If you haven’t connected with someone for a while, make an extra effort to check in; or if you noticed someone is struggling recently then offer a helping hand, or an ear.

A conversation may not be able to change your life dramatically, but it can be the catalyst for change. By you deciding to talk, to listen and to share you are actively making an informed decision to help yourself, and help others who are struggling with mental health.

For those who have no one listening 

On Time to Talk Day, we are reminded of how blessed we are to have people around us who are willing to listen. If you need a chat, more than likely there are at least a few people whom you know who are willing and more than happy to listen, and help; be it your spouse, close friends or family.

However, for HHUGS families, on days like this, it can serve as a further reminder of how isolated they are. They are often met by silence, or harsh rejection when reaching out to others to talk.  For weeks on end, beside their own children, single mothers may not have a single conversation where they can offload and socialise. Elderly parents within their own homes miss their sons dearly, their neighbours, and local community have cast them out.

Everyday somebody from HHUGS rings to ask me, ‘how am I? How am I doing today? ‘I can’t go to my family, because they don’t like the Muslim thing my son went into. My mum doesn’t speak to me. Where I need the support, I don’t get it. I don’t, I’m lonely, I always say to my family, if it wasn’t for the Muslim people I wouldn’t be anywhere because I’ve had nothing from the family as such. HHUGS is like a loving mother whose love reaches out to people. HHUGS is my mum, my grandmother and I am truly grateful for them.” – Grace

To help alleviate loneliness for single mothers, fatherless children and vulnerable elderly, we provide emotional support through coffee mornings, keyworkers and mentoring.

“Without HHUGS, I would be so lost. The support, the comfort, the encouragement from you has been amazing. I never thought I would be able to pick myself back up again. You have made a big difference to my life and to the lives of others. The counselling sessions – they have all made me as though I am not alone.” For those who have no one listening, on Time to Talk Day you can provide these families with Warm Companionship. Don’t let them face a Winter without you.