27604465_10156067254993770_838153731_oPenrith and The Border MP Rory Stewart has joined forces with local Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Carlisle and Eden, Jacob Reid, to raise awareness of mental heath issues for young people in Cumbria, as part of Time to Talk Day on Thursday 1 February 2018.

‘Time to Talk’ is an initiative led 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. Time to Talk Day aims to get as many people as possible talking about mental health and this year, for the first time, the event is UK wide.

People can struggle to find the right time or place to talk about mental health, so this year, Time to Change is asking people to have a conversation wherever they are – at home, at school, or even at the top of a ​Cumbrian fell. Since its launch in 2014, Time to Talk Day has sparked millions of conversations in schools, homes, workplaces, in the media and online, and attracted support from celebrities such as Freddie Flintoff, Stephen Fry and Frankie Bridge.

Rory Stewart and Jacob Reid now hope to take this initiative forward​ locally by writing to schools and convening a round table meeting ​with teachers and youth representatives, ​to talk about mental health issues for children and young people in Penrith and The Border. 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.”

The World Health Organisation say that one in five young people suffer from poor mental health, and for the past three years young people have consistently identified mental health as their biggest concern, suggesting that it is one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Jacob Reid MYP said: “Given the statistics, if we are not affected by mental health issues ourselves, we will all know someone who is, yet there is still a stigma which we need to tackle. There is lots of work to do, but I think we can be hopeful that things are going to change, and that we are moving forward.

Members of Youth Parliament up and down the country have been campaign​ing​ on the issue, and I am delighted that all the main political parties pledged to improve mental health provisions in the last General Election, proving that this is an issue more important than party boundaries.”

Rory Stewart MP said: “We all need to be more open about our mental health and encourage young people to talk about how they feel. No one is unsusceptible to developing a mental health problem, and modern day life puts increasing pressures on young people, making this one of the biggest issues for society today. Having these important conversations about how we feel can make a big difference to many people. The more we talk, the more lives we can change, and that is why I am proud to work with Jacob to raise awareness and support the Time to Change initiative.”

For ​more information about Time to Talk Day and how you can get involved please visit: www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day-2018

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