World Mental Health Day on 10 October is about raising awareness of mental health and driving positive change for everyone’s mental health. It is also a chance to talk about mental health, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to get help if you are struggling.

With this in mind, we want to tell you about the ‘in the moment’ support newly available to all staff.

As an employee at the University of Bath, you can now access free and confidential help and advice whenever you need it. Care first is a new service that offers access to a team of professional counsellors 24 hours a day, free of charge. You can get in touch by calling 0800 174 319.

They also provide practical support and information on a range of issues to support your health and wellbeing, both at work and at home.

On the Care first website you'll find information, answers and advice on a range of workplace and personal issues. As well as readily available resources, you can also speak to someone online or on the phone to get the help you need straightaway.

You will find the login details on our Care first staff web page.

Tips for talking about mental health

Talking is good for your mental health and wellbeing. And talking about mental health is important. But starting a conversation isn’t always easy. Whether you’d like to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, or check-in with someone you care about, here are some tips that can help.

Talking about your mental health and wellbeing

1. Choose someone you trust to talk to

This might be a friend, family member or a colleague. Or you might be more comfortable talking to someone you don’t know, for example, through a support helpline such as Care first. It can help to do a pros and cons list about talking to someone.

2. Think about the best place to talk

It’s important to choose a place where you feel comfortable enough to open up. You might want to choose somewhere private where you’re less likely to be disturbed. You also might want to talk while you do an activity, like walking together.

3. Prepare yourself for their reaction

Hopefully, you will have a good experience when you open up to someone. But there’s a chance that they may not react in the way you hope. This may be for different reasons, like they may be worried or not fully understand at first. If that’s the case, try to give them time to process what you’ve told them. It might help to give them information to read to help them understand. And don’t forget to be kind to yourself and practice self-care.

Talking to someone about their mental health

1. Find a good space to talk without distractions

If you’re worried about someone, try to find a place where you know you can have a conversation without being distracted. Make sure to give them your full attention. It might help to switch off your phone.

2. Listen and ask questions

Listening can be one of the most valuable ways to be there for someone. Show them that you’re actively listening by facing them, making eye contact and not interrupting. Questions can help you clarify what they mean and also show that you’re actively listening. But make sure the questions are relevant to what they’re saying and not changing the subject.

3. Ask how you can help

Ask how you can help or make suggestions, rather than telling them what to do next. They might want support with making a GP appointment, help around the house, or just for you to keep things normal and chat about what’s going on in your life.