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Making time to talk

This week marks the start of Mental Illness Awareness Week, a time to learn more about what causes mental illness, how it can be managed and/or prevented and how to help those around you that are dealing with it. On Saturday, during television’s Britain’s Got Talent show: The Champions, Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly brought the show to a halt to make a statement regarding mental health. They invited the programmes viewers to forget for a moment about the competing acts and to take the time to engage and talk with their loved ones, all as part of a new mental wellness campaign called ‘Britain Get Talking’.

There are more distractions than ever in today’s world. Whether it’s the television, or our phones, work or anything else that takes away the important human interaction time we all need, it has become paramount that we take the time to have a good chat with those around us. Person to person, in person. It’s amazing how this small act can help to alleviate some of the everyday stresses and worries we all deal with in our busy lives.

A good place to start looking for and starting those conversations is in our workplaces. Sometimes it can seem a problem to find the time to talk. It’s so easy to get caught up in our routines that we can forget to be creative in finding ways to ‘make’ time.

One brilliant opportunity to have a conversation is at our Team Meetings which are comfortable and safe talking spaces. It’s when, as a whole team, we can discuss and review things together, so why not make the first point on the meeting agenda a little time to engage with some fellow human beings? Make the atmosphere relaxed, there are questions we rarely have time to ask like “How are you today?”, “Did you enjoy your holiday?” or “What are your planning to do with your days off this week?”.

We don’t need to read from a script, we are just being human. If someone doesn’t want to start a conversation that’s fine, but what’s stopping you from asking them an open and friendly question? It’s an essential part of our Values in ubu to treat everybody with kindness, to show interest, to be respectful and open so that each of us feels supported, appreciated and heard.

Let’s not make excuses, let’s make time to talk!

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