Hartlepool mental health charity holding activities as part of national Time to Talk Day

A Hartlepool mental health champion is backing a national day of action encouraging people to open up and talk about their feelings.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 9:33 am

Mum-of-three Stephanie Addison, who suffered post natal depression for three years after the birth of her second daughter Olivia in 2007, is a champion for Time to Change, a national mental health anti-stigma campaign.

She is backing its annual Time to Talk Day on Thursday, February 6.

Stephanie, who set up Raindrops to Rainbows, which runs free peer support groups for mums, said: “I shut myself off from the rest of the world and didn’t really want to see family either.

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“I didn’t tell anyone how I was feeling. It’s important to get people to talk every day, but to have a day dedicated where people and the media pick it up, it just reminds people that there are safe places to talk and that we need to encourage people to listen as well.”

Stephanie, who also works for charity Mental Health Concern, previously spoke in the House of Commons about mental health and motherhood.

A new survey by Time to Change reveals a reluctance among sufferers and others in the North East to seek or offer support through talking.

Out of over 4,000 people questioned over one in four (29%) in the North East said they would put off speaking to a friend who is struggling with their health.

Everyone affected by mental health is being encouraged to talk more as part of Time to Talk Day.

Over half (52%) said they would prefer not to tell anyone if they were struggling with their mental health.

And 44% felt it was important to keep a ‘stiff upper lip’.

Reasons for why people in the North East avoid talking about mental health include preferring to keep conversation light-hearted, fear of saying the wrong thing, and feeling uncomfortable.

Jo Loughran, director of Time to Change, added: “It’s not an overstatement to say that having a conversation about mental health could change someone’s life.

Hartlepool Time to Change champion Stephanie Addison in her campaign t-shirt.

“The more we all talk about mental health, the more we can remove the fear and awkwardness.”

Hartlepool and East Durham Mind, in Tees Street, is holding an event and activities for members on Time to Talk Day at 2.30pm.