Getting a head start on Time to Talk Day

Hull City Council and HeadStart Hull are supporting Time to Talk Day, taking place on Thursday 1 February, as part of a nationwide push to get people talking more openly about mental health for one day. Time to Talk Day is organised by Time to Change, the campaign to change how we all think and act about mental health problems, led by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

It’s a day that aims to bring everyone together to get talking and break the silence around mental health problems. Although 1 February is Time to Talk Day, conversations can take place any day. 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year, but many of us are too afraid to talk about it. Starting a conversation about mental health might seem daunting but simply sending a text, checking in on a friend or sharing something on social media can break the ice.

HeadStart Hull delivery partners in partnership with Time to Talk Day are holding a range of events on Thursday 1 February and include:

• HeadStart Hull volunteers (or HeadStarters) who are young people aged 11-20 are taking the time to talk resources to hand out in their schools, colleges and youth groups so they can discuss mental health with their peers.
• Hull City Council Youth Services will be using Time to Talk resources as part of their open access sessions and craft sessions to talk about mental health to reduce stigma. This includes discussing the difference between texting and face to face talking.
• Barnardo Wrap project (HSH school based group work) will have staff in St Marys School, Winifred Holtby School, and Sirius West School on Thursday 1st Feb 2108 across lunch-times where young people can engage with staff.
• School staff at Hull College, Newland and Winifred will also be using time to talk resources to have discussions with their students.
• WINNER The Preston Road Women’s Centre Ltd will also be using the resources to start conversations with the young people they support in their domestic violence service.

Councillor Phil Webster, Portfolio Holder for Learning, Skills and Safeguarding Children, said: “Time to Talk Day is a chance for us all to be more open about mental health. Having these important conversations can make a big difference to many people. The more we talk the more lives we can change.”

Sue Baker OBE, 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. It’s easy to think there’s no right place to talk about mental health. But the more we talk about it, the better life is for all of us and Time to Talk Day is a chance for everyone to open up – to talk, to listen, to change lives.”

HeadStart Hull is an exciting, innovative programme funded by the Big Lottery fund which promotes positive emotional health and wellbeing, aimed at children and young people and their families to develop skills to cope with life challenges. It provides an appropriate early help response through targeted interventions for young people aged 10-16. The services include a range of support for young people including peer mentors, group work, counselling and resilience coaches. There is also peer mentoring and group work support for parents. Services can currently be access via referrals from schools or young people’s community based services e.g. youth services who have all had training on how to support young people and parents to access these services.

As part of time to Talk HeadStart Hull is encouraging young people to find an adult they trust e.g. a teacher or school pastoral staff, a youth worker, school nurse etc. and talk to them about their worries and any help they may need. They can also access the Turn to Us ‘drop ins’ which are run by youth workers in every secondary school and are open access. HeadStart Hull will soon be launching self-referral for young people and parents. More information will become available over half term.

Councillor Webster, added: “We hope that through early help and intervention for children who are experiencing issues, we can build their emotional resilience and encourage them to talk about their problems before they develop into anything more serious. The Headstart Hull programme will mean that children will receive the right support at important stages of their lives.

“We want young people in this city to be active, confident, engaged learners, who can face challenges and know how to relate positively to others. We know this can’t be achieved in isolation which is why we are committed to working together with schools and voluntary and youth organisations under the HeadStart Hull programme.”

New research* released on Thursday 11 January at a young people’s mental health conference shows that girls are more than twice as likely to experience emotional difficulties as boys, while boys are significantly more likely to experience behavioural problems. Findings from the survey reveal that:

• Around one in five children and young people said they experienced emotional problems, and the same was true for behavioural problems.
• Young people in Year 9 are more likely to report mental health problems than young people in year 7.
• Girls are more than twice as likely to say they had experienced emotional problems (with 25 per cent of girls saying they had a problem compared to 11 per cent of boys) but in contrast, boys are one-and-a-half times more likely to say they have experienced behavioural problems (with 23 per cent of boys saying they had experienced them compared with 15 per cent of girls).
• Young people from Asian, Black, Mixed and other ethnic groups were significantly less likely to indicate they were experiencing emotional problems than young people in the White ethnic group.
• Young people with special educational needs, those eligible for free school meals and those classified as children in need were also more likely to say they were experiencing both emotional and behavioural problems.

The survey – one of the largest of children and young people’s wellbeing ever carried out in England – concludes that there is a consistent association between deprivation and mental health problems.

To find out more about the day, visit

Don’t forget to use #timetotalk to join the conversation on social media.