Time to Change is a growing social movement working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems, it is organised by Rethink Mental Illness and Mind.


Along with the popular campaign Ask Twice there is an annual Time to Talk Day in February bringing the message to peoples forefront.

Time to Change objective are to end the stigma and discrimination and improve public attitudes and behaviour towards experienced by people with mental health problems. Help people with mental health problems suffering from discrimination and show them how to take action and to challenge stigma.

Ask Twice Campaign

‘We all hear it dozens of times a day, “How are you?”, “Fine thanks, how are you?” ‘Our research shows that, as a nation, we find it hard to answer honestly. ‘This could mean someone close to you is struggling with their mental health – they might just be waiting for your cue to talk about it. ‘Asking twice is a simple, effective way to show our friends and family members that we are asking for real; that we are ready to listen, whether that’s now or whenever they’re ready.”

Statistically, 1 in 4 of us will fight a mental health problem in any given year. No one should have to fear being treated differently because of a mental health problem.

Time to Change tips on how to help a friend who opens up 

1. Take it seriously 

Opening up about how you really feel can be embarrassing so don’t laugh or act like it’s a joke. Listen to everything they have to say. It can feel embarrassing and exposing to talk about your thoughts and feelings, especially if they’re disturbing. Don’t laugh or treat it like a joke. However strange it might seem to you, remember it’s real to them. 

2. Listen and reflect 

You don’t have to have all the answers – just listening can make a big difference. Try to show that you’re taking on board what they’re saying. You can do this by reflecting – that is, saying something simple like ‘that sounds really difficult’. You could also say something like ‘thanks for telling me’, to show that you appreciate having the conversation. 

3. Ask questions 

We worry about prying when it comes to others’ mental health, but it’s better to ask questions. Some of the questions you might ask: ‘What does it feel like?’ ‘What kind of thoughts are you having?’ ‘How can I help?’ 

4. Don’t try to fix it 

It’s human nature to want to fix things, but expecting things to change right away isn’t helpful. It’s not your job to make their mental health problem go away – it’s often more helpful just to listen, ask open questions and do things you’d normally do together. 

5. Build your knowledge 

You might find it helpful to learn a bit more about what they’re going through. If they mention a specific diagnosis, you could learn more about it and read personal stories by people who have experienced similar things. You might want to learn about the professional help that’s available to them and suggest that they explore those options.

Get Involved

There are many way to get involved, at work, schools or in the wider community.
Become time to change champion or arrange local hub