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HERA Social Prescriber

by Lizzy West March 2020 seems a long time ago and here we are again in Lockdown 3.0. As a social prescriber it has been an incredibly busy time, I have been so moved by the community spirit. I’ve seen how incredibly hard it has been for  many people and how hard people in all organisations have been working to connect and support those most in need. I think there is something special about Brighton. Yes its a busy urban city, a mix of affluent and less so. Creativity and innovation too. There is  a lot of community spirit and a vast number of organisations offerimg to support all demographics. Organisations such as Time to talk Befriending, Ageing well, Brighton & Hove food partnership and many more (A few listed below with contact details) have been a great help to patients and myself over the last year. We also had patients, friends and family offering to step in and support those in need in anyway they could. Thank you so much! Ready meal deliverys, buddy calls, online art and photography groups, singing, yoga. Something for many, hopefully bringing them a little warmth and connection. There are a number of volunteering opportunities for people to get involved in, whatever time you want to offer will be appreciated I’m sure. Let’s hope we can now slowly start to return to our old “normal”. Stay safe, stay connected.

Time to Talk day

Thursday 4th Feb 2021 Time To Talk Day brings the nation together to get talking and break the silence around mental health problems. Too often, people who experience a mental health problem are also expected to take the lead on talking about mental health in the wider sense. Time To Talk Day encourages everyone to talk about mental health. Mental health problems affect one in four of us yet people are still afraid to talk about it. For people with mental health problems not being able to talk about it can be one of the worst parts of the illness. So by getting people talking about mental health we can break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects us all.

We know talking about mental health is not always easy. But starting a conversation doesn’t have to be awkward, and being there for someone can make a huge difference.
It’s important that conversations happen at times and in places that feel natural. Sometimes it’s easier to talk about our feelings when we are doing something else. Driving in the car; jogging around the park; eating breakfast. The more typical the setting, the less unusual and uncomfortable the conversation can feel. – Lauren

There is no right way to talk about mental health, but these tips will guide you to make sure you’re approaching it in a helpful way.

1. Ask questions and listen

Asking questions can give the person space to express how they’re feeling and what they’re going through, and it will help you to understand their experience better. Try to ask questions that are open and not leading or judgemental – such as “how does that affect you” or “what does it feel like?”

2. Think about the time & place

Sometimes it’s easier to talk side by side rather than face to face. So, if you do talk in person, you might want to chat while you are doing something else. You could start a conversation when you’re walking, cooking or stuck in traffic. However, don’t let the search for the perfect place put you off!

3. Don’t try & fix it

It can be hard to see someone you care about having a difficult time but try to resist the urge to offer quick fixes to what they’re going through. Learning to manage or recover from a mental health problem can be a long journey, and they’ve likely already considered lots of different tools and strategies. Just talking can be really powerful, so unless they’ve asked for advice directly, it might be best just to listen.

4. Treat them the same

When someone has a mental health problem, they’re still the same person as they were before. And that means when a friend or loved one opens up about mental health, they don’t want to be treated any differently. If you want to support them, keep it simple. Do the things you’d normally do.

5. Be patient

No matter how hard you try, some people might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through. That’s ok – the fact that you’ve tried to talk to them about it may make it easier for them to open up another time. And there are lots of things you can do to support them even if you’re not talking:

  • Doing things together
  • Sending a text to let them know you’re thinking of them
  • Offering to help with day-to-day tasks.


HERA E:   Time to Talk Befriending 01273 737710   Ageing Well 07770 061 072   Brighton Hove Food Partnership 01273 234810   Together Co 01273775888   Homestart 01273612025   The Clare Project 01273234009   Voices in Exile 01273 328598   Switchboard Brighton and Hove LGBTQ 01273 359042