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Conversation focuses on mental health as Suffolk supports Time to Talk Day

PUBLISHED: 19:19 01 February 2018 | UPDATED: 19:31 01 February 2018

From left, Jo Flack, Simon King, Gill Jones, Chris Pyburn, Sarah Lungley and Carole Thain at a Time to Talk event in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

From left, Jo Flack, Simon King, Gill Jones, Chris Pyburn, Sarah Lungley and Carole Thain at a Time to Talk event in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

We have them every single day, but the importance of conversation is often overlooked.

Lucy Ainger at the Time to Talk Day at Quay Place.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLucy Ainger at the Time to Talk Day at Quay Place. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Organisations across Suffolk have today held events to mark Time to Talk Day, a national campaign by social movement group Time to Change that urges people to open up about mental health.

Kevin Mason attended a celebration at Quay Place in Ipswich called Coffee and Conversation.

The 57-year-old, from Ipswich, has struggled with mental health problems since 1983 and has only recently discovered the benefits of interacting with like-minded people.

He said: “I know I have a difficulty with conversation and talking to people and I guess I thought I had to put up with it but more recently I have discovered the Time to Change campaign and that sort of brought it a little bit to the fore.

From left, Vikki Versey, Irene Tibbenham, Nathan Clarke and Gareth Moir raising awareness at Stowmarket Train Station for Time to Talk Day. Picture: GREGG BROWNFrom left, Vikki Versey, Irene Tibbenham, Nathan Clarke and Gareth Moir raising awareness at Stowmarket Train Station for Time to Talk Day. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“I think it can help with your emotional health, especially if you have not been very well. People with mental health seem to have an absence of being able to converse.”

Di, who is from Ipswich but did not want to give her last name, is going through a difficult stage in her life and she attended the event to seek support.

She said: “I have been off sick from work for four months and I am facing redundancy and I haven’t got a clue what my next step will be.

“I saw the event was on and I just thought it would get me out the house and it would be good for my mental health and it’s been brilliant.”

Irene Tibbenham chatting to a commuter at Stowmarket Train Station. Picture: GREGG BROWNIrene Tibbenham chatting to a commuter at Stowmarket Train Station. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Coffee and Conversation was hosted by Suffolk Mind and supported by partner organisations including Healthwatch Suffolk, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Libraries.

Gill Jones, Healthwatch Suffolk’s community development manager, said: “It’s an opportunity to bring mental health to the fore and it’s important for us all to think about how we can keep ourselves well and one of the ways we can do that is to talk.”

Volunteers from Mid Suffolk VASP - a mental health forum - had a Time to Talk stall at Stowmarket Train station.

Sue Ryder The Chantry, a care centre in Ipswich for people with neurological needs, also supported the event and has pledged to take steps to highlight the importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace.

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