Time to Talk Day 2023

Published: Thursday 2 Feb 2023

2 February is Time to Talk Day, a chance to have conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health.

With 1 in 4 of us experiencing a mental health problem in any given year (1 in 6 in the workplace), AQA aims to foster an environment in which all employees feel comfortable discussing mental health openly and can access areas of support if they experience problems. Therefore, on this important day, we would like to share some of the ways in which we assist our great people with their mental health and encourage conversations.

Over 30 of our staff have been trained by MHFA England in Mental Health First Aid. Their primary role is to provide support, listen non-judgmentally and signpost colleagues to sources of support and information. All discussions are treated in the strictest confidence (unless there is a safeguarding issue).

Karen Higgins, Assessment Production Lead, says, "As one of the Chairs of the Mental Health First Aider community, it's fantastic to see that our hard work is paying off and colleagues are bravely and openly sharing their stories about their own mental health journey. As a society we still have a way to go in terms of mental health conditions being seen in the same way as physical health conditions, but at AQA we are challenging the stigma and breaking down barriers around mental health as much as we can."

Connected to this culture of openness comes AQA's participation in the This is Me campaign. An initiative of the Lord Mayor of London's Appeals Team, This is Me is a pioneering mental health campaign whose aim is to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace by encouraging employees who have experienced a mental health problem to share their stories with their colleagues.

Released internally last year, AQA is delighted to share our latest set of This Is Me films externally on our YouTube channel. We are incredibly grateful to Nick Greenwood, Sally Hepburn, Tom Parker and Tor Thompson for their courage in recording their experiences and sharing their stories of lived mental health issues to a wider audience beyond AQA colleagues. Please take some time to listen to their stories.

In addition to This Is Me's release on Time to Talk Day, our Mental Health Awareness Group are hosting drop-in sessions across AQA's offices and running an online 'cuppa and chat' for those who are working remotely today.

It's important for all of us to take care of our mental health – by talking about it, we can support ourselves and others.


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