Starting the discussion might seem daunting but Time to Talk day on Thursday, February 7 encourages people to open up.

Time to Change champions, people who have first-hand experience of mental health conditions, will be at Oxfordshire County Library at the Westgate, Oxford, from 10am until 1pm, getting the conversation flowing.

Joining them will be representatives from Oxford Health NHS FT and our TalkingSpace Plus service; Rethink, the national mental health charity and Aspire Oxfordshire, a multi-award-winning employment charity and social enterprise.

If you can’t get along to the library, you can get involved on Time to Talk day by simply checking in on a friend, sharing something on social media to break the ice or challenging mental health stigma with a room full of people.

Paul Hicks, a Time to Change champion and volunteer at Oxford Health NHS FT, said: “We are taking part in Time to Talk Day because mental health is a topic that we should all feel able to talk about.

“Having these all-important conversations can make a big difference to many people. The more we talk, the more lives we can change.”

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said: “Mental health problems are common and can affect any one of us, yet too often people are afraid to talk openly about mental health for fear of being judged.

“There are lots of different ways to have a conversation about mental health and you don’t have to be an expert to talk. Whether you’re talking on a walk, or listening over a cuppa, your chat can make a big difference. However, you do it, start a conversation about mental health this Time to Talk Day.”

If you don’t feel ready to open up to family and friends our talking therapy services will be able to help you. Contact TalkingSpace Plus in Oxfordshire or Healthy Minds Bucks in Buckinghamshire.

For information about Time to Talk Day and how you can get involved please visit the time to change website.