On 4 February 2021 it will be Time to Talk Day when Scotland is encouraged to talk about mental health. And in particular organisations such as workplaces and schools are asked to get involved.

As a way to start a conversation people are being encouraged to send postcards to each other in an effort to get around the stigma of talking about how we feel. The See Me programme aims to end mental health discrimination and urges people to reach out to others who may be struggling alone, particularly in light of the pandemic.

See Me volunteer spokesman Tommy Kelly said: “Speaking has definitely been more difficult during the pandemic because people have been going through a lot – and dying – so your problems seem miniscule. I think where the pandemic has also affected me is being home and having a lot of time on my hands. It’s around now that I have the anniversary of a difficult point in my life. In other years, I’ve been able to get out and keep busy. But, not being able to do that means I can be left with depressive thoughts.”

Wendy Halliday, See Me director, said: “Has there ever been a more important time for us to talk about our mental health than in 2021? Too many people with mental health problems are still made to feel isolated, worthless and ashamed. To break down the stigma, we can all play a part in building better cultures around mental health.

“A small conversation has the power to make a big difference, and starting a conversation is such a simple thing we can all do for one another – not just on Time to Talk Day. Despite the circumstances, we want to make this year’s event bigger and better than any before. Perhaps we can make 2021 the Year of the Conversation.”

There was a 43% increase in urgent and emergency cases seeking psychiatric help, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists anticipate that this will increase following the pandemic.

Resources and action packs for Time to Talk Day can be downloaded right now at the See Me website:www.seemescotland.org/movement-for-change/campaigns/time-to-talk/time-to-talk-day-2021/

This includes inspiration for activities, printable materials, ways to share about the day, signposts to help, and more.

See Me – Time To Talk Day, 6th February 2020 Volunteers gathered to raise aware of mental health discrimination at The National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.