Let's talk about mental health

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A West Sussex charity is using pebble painting to help break the stony silence surrounding mental health.

"No-one should be made to feel ashamed or isolated due to their mental health. Early intervention is vital and you need to be able to talk to do that".

"But if I can tell someone this, tell them what I'm going thorough and not receive judgement, it makes a huge difference".

Last year, The Co-operators began a company-wide mental health initiative focused on its employees, clients and the communities it serves.

"I was experiencing depression, anxiety, and was having panic attacks so bad I couldn't leave my house and go to class", she said. Taking medication for me, there's a lot of shame around taking meds.

For those of us who don't feel like we can help, or wouldn't know what to do, that's OK, as there are resources like the Canadian Mental Health Association's Mid-Island Branch, Kids' Help Phone, the Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Start the Conversation - a 45-minute session which aims to get employees thinking about mental health and talking about it.

"I will be encouraging the students at the University of Buckingham to get talking about mental health and I urge other education practitioners to do the same". "Find those things and connect with those and find people you trust, that you can open up to".

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Comedians Des Clarke and Janey Godley are supporting the campaign to get people talking.

"That's why I wanted to come down and show that even in a museum you can chat about what's going on in your life and how you're feeling". But that doesn't mean it's always easy to speak when you're struggling. "But I still think there is stigma, so it is hard for someone who may be experiencing mental health concerns to step forward".

People can then hide them to be found in public spaces such as parks, or take photos and share them on social media with links to help and advice.

"This year Time to Talk day coincides with Breathing Space day in Scotland".

"These practical courses will support the development of a positive mental health culture in any organisation, regardless of its size and budget".

Louisa Hernandez, stigma and awareness manager for Coastal West Sussex Mind, said: "We think the pebble painting and hosting "pebble parties" is really good fun, but we have a message - and the message for Time to Talk is that "conversations change lives".

Time to Talk day also falls on Breathing Space day this year, and the launch of their campaign, 365 Brighter Days, created to offer a year round approach to positivity.