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Time to talk - and listen

02 February 2017

West London Mental Health NHS Trust’s Chief Executive, Carolyn Regan reflects on the meaning of Time to Talk day.

“At the moment I’m thinking a lot about the value of talking and listening, prompted by the upcoming Time to Talk day on Thursday 2 February.

“Conversations change lives. That’s the strapline of Time to Talk day, which takes place on Thursday, and it’s prompted me to think more about the value of talking and listening.

“Time to Talk has become a regular annual fixture in the mental health world. While I often struggle to see the purpose of some themed days, I think this one adds real value. We’ve all met patients, service users and carers who want to talk and want to access the right help and support, but still acutely feel the stigma that persists around mental health issues.

“Our role around Time to Talk is twofold. We can give people the space to talk about their mental health, and feel truly listened to. We can also help create space in wider society for talking about mental health, by promoting our services, why we do it and why mental health should be a perfectly normal thing to talk about. I’m proud to work in mental health and proud of the care we provide. 2017 will see us make big strides in improving our services and improving our offer to people struggling with mental health issues, and it’s important that we talk to the communities we serve about how we can help them.

“But as you all know, making a space to talk counts for nothing if we don’t also listen.  I’m also pleased that as an organisation, we are not afraid to acknowledge when things could be better and to take feedback on board. So I am going to take today as a reminder to listen to what patients, staff, carers and service users tell me, and take action based on what I am told.”