One in four of us are affected by mental health every year, and many of us have experienced low moods, anxiety and stress at some point in our lives.

Award-winning mental health provider Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust will be getting behind Time to Talk Day, on Thursday 7 February with a series of activities which aim to inspire people to talk about mental health. People will be sharing their experience online and the Care Trust will be encouraging people to talk about mental health in supermarkets, restaurants, at the local hairdressers, with their local cabbie and across the community in a bid to get people chatting about how they are feeling.

Time to Talk Day ‘recipe card’

The day is part of Time to Change’s national campaign, which aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness by getting people to talk openly about issues that can affect us all.  Activities led by the Trust to spark conversations in schools, colleges, homes and workplaces will include Care Trust staff pledging their support by sharing their recipes for wellbeing on the Trust’s social media in the run-up to the event.

Local businesses, including multi-award winning Prashad restaurant, has got behind the campaign with Operations Director Bobby Patel sharing his recipe for wellbeing on social media in a bid to get people talking about issues that affect one in four of us.  The vegetarian restaurant shot to fame in Gordon Ramsay’s 2010 television programme Ramsay’s Best Restaurant, with Gordon describing the food as “extraordinary”.

Commenting on the campaign, Prashad Operations Director, Bobby Patel said: “We’re really happy to get behind the campaign and Time to Talk Day. I think it’s essential to share your problems, a problem shared is a problem halved. We live in a very, very busy world but we should always find time to talk. The person next to you is as good as anyone to open your heart and share your problems with.”

Ahead of the dedicated Time to Talk Day, the Care Trust invited people across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven to take part in a Twitter poll to find out what they did to look after their mental health. The results of the Twitter survey revealed, that of the 1,780 people that took part in the poll, 46 per cent said that exercise was their key to emotional wellbeing; 26 per cent said talking to someone kept their mental health on track, followed by 19 per cent who found that meeting up with friends gave them a boost, and 9 per cent said eating the right things worked for them.

Along with giving the public the opportunity to vote for their favourite wellbeing booster, the Care Trust invited participants to share their recipes for wellbeing.

One member of the local community said on Twitter: “Take it from me I am retired, 72 years of age and walk the dog in the woods for an hour, six days a week at 6am rain or shine. It keeps me fit, any depressions evaporate, and I come home ready for a hearty breakfast and a good start to the day.”

Another shared: “Guided meditation just before sleep; I fall asleep with my earbuds in almost every night (meditation only lasts for an hour or so, but I hardly ever get to the end of it). Stops overthinking and I fall asleep almost straight away.”

Other popular choices included: walking the dog, getting out into nature, listening to music, reading, mindfulness and yoga.

Dr Amir Khan from Channel 5 show GPs: Behind Closed Doors, will be getting behind the campaign along with Bradford Bulls, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, NHS Bradford District and Craven CCGs, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Sean Scott Hairdressing, The Cellar Trust, West Yorkshire Police, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Telegraph and Argus and BCB Radio who will be sharing their secret recipes in a bid to get people pledging and chatting.

In the run up to Time to Talk Day the Care Trust will be working in partnership with colleges across the district and has invited students from Bradford College, Keighley College, Craven College and Shipley College to pledge their support to get talking about their mental wellbeing by posting their recipes for wellbeing pictures on social media.

The free Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust service, MyWellbeing College, designed to help people navigate their way through life’s ups and downs, will also be backing the campaign and will be encouraging people to get talking about everyday problems that can affect our mood. The service aims to increase personal wellbeing. People can register themselves online at www.bmywellbeingcollege.nhs.uk or join a group six-week course, whatever suits their needs. Phone advice or one-to-one courses at a range of locations are also available and the website offers a range of free guides and tools to help people better manage life’s ups and downs.

Mandy Stephenson delivers courses through the MyWellbeing College and said: “Time to Talk Day is an opportunity for everyone open up, talk, listen about things that can affect us all.  Having these all important conversations can make a big difference to many people.  Talking doesn’t need to be difficult, it can be as simple as making time to have a cup of tea or going for a walk and listening to someone talk about how they feel or joining a local group. Being open and ready to listen can make a positive difference to someone’s life.”

Forty-six-year-old mother of two, Rehana Kosar would like to inspire people to talk about mental health, to help people understand they are not alone. Rehana struggled with low mood and anxiety after health problems following a kidney transplant.  She decided to sign up for a Champions Show the Way walking group, run by the Care Trust. The volunteering groups offer free sociable activities led by dedicated volunteer community health champions.  Rehana has never looked back, crediting the group with giving her a new lease of life, helping her regain her confidence and zest for life after being able to talk, get active and share her experience of how she was feeling with the group.

Rehana said: “I was made to feel very welcome by the group even though I was quiet at first as I didn’t know what to expect and was still lacking confidence and feeling a bit down. I just knew I needed to be around positive people I could talk to that would lift my mood. It’s been nearly a year now since I joined the walking group and I’ve built really good friendships. We recently went to Blackpool and did a lovely walk by the sea, we had a family picture taken of all of us as we feel like we’re family now.”

Rehana concluded: “It’s basically about having that communication and knowing that even though you may be going through something, there are people who understand, you’re not alone and it’s good to talk.”

Starting a conversation might seem daunting but simply sending a text, checking in on a friend or sharing something on social media can break the ice.  Our wellbeing top tips and courses can be found at www.bmywellbeingcollege.nhs.uk

The MyWellbeing College is open to anyone over the age of 16 who is registered with a GP in Bradford, Wharfedale, Airedale or Craven.  People don’t have to go through their GP to enrol on a course, they can register online at www.bmywellbeingcollege.nhs.uk or give the enrolment team a call on 0300 555 5551 to chat through the range of options available.

Find out more about the range of interesting sociable activities available through Champions Show the Way, visit:  https://www.bdct.nhs.uk/services/cstw/