10 October 2021

Starting on World Mental Health Day (10 October), YMCA Heart of England is urging everyone in Birmingham, Coventry and Rugby to break the silence over mental health by initiating small but meaningful conversations with friends, colleagues and even strangers as part of their Small Talks, Big Difference initiative.

Everyone struggles at times with their mental health, especially over the past 18 months, and yet speaking openly about it can still feel like an extremely daunting prospect. To help make this a little easier, YMCA Heart of England are asking people to take a few minutes of their day this October for Tea Talks, and have devised a simple TALK plan to kick things off:

Take the time to engage and check in with those around you; Ask twice about how they are feeling to break through the common ‘I’m fine’ response; Learn to listen by being patient and don’t cut people off; and Keep it up – don’t stop after one chat, keep checking in with each other.

Jennie Evans, Head of Communications at YMCA Heart of England, said:

“The Small Talks, Big Difference initiative is about breaking down barriers and breaking the silence in order to do just that. In taking the time to have these conversations and ensure that we all make ourselves available to listen, everyone can have a positive impact on the mental health of those around them.

“As part of our work, we already have regular catch ups with young people and encourage them to talk if needed and offer chaplaincy support to both staff and residents. This initiative brings focus that activity and ensures that we remember to encourage small talks, not only around World Mental Health Day, but all year round.”

YMCAs across the country connect almost 72,000 young people with someone to talk to or a helping hand, offering specialist guidance and practical skills to best equip them to overcome whatever challenges they may face.