This Thursday 4th February marks Time to Talk Day, a nationwide campaign aimed to break the silence and end the stigma surrounding mental illness.
1 in 4 people in the UK are affected by a mental health problem and too often this goes unnoticed meaning you’ll most likely interact with someone in your everyday life who is currently suffering from a mental health issue.
Led by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, the aim of the day is to encourage the nation to speak up about mental health and have a conversation with family, friends and colleagues.
The RPA are supporting the campaign and recently spoke to former Sale Sharks and Oxford University flanker, John Carter.
John who now works as a fully qualified psychotherapist, experienced the highs and lows of a professional rugby career and knows too well the challenge of staying mentally positive throughout difficult transitions in life.
The 6ft 3 flanker who later went on to become Oxford University’s most successful captain, was dealt a cruel blow in 2007 when he was forced to retire from professional rugby due to injury.
“I was forced to give up something I loved and in a sense it felt like it was stolen from me.
“I felt bereft and empty, searching for something that had disappeared.
“The most difficult thing about giving up rugby was my ignorance of how I felt and my resistance to talk about it.”
With mental illness affecting such a large proportion of the population, John believes one of the best ways to overcome it is to seek help and find someone to talk to.
“One of the most positive and helpful approaches to my forced retirement was talking through it with another person and trying to find the words to understand it.
“We are born as relational beings, so in order to gain clarity on what we think it is often incredibly helpful to communicate with others.
“Talking can be so relieving and cathartic, as well as liberating from the confusion and the burden of the unknown.
“Having the opportunity to communicate with someone is one of the most positive things a person can do for themselves and I strongly recommend anyone experiencing difficulties in their lives to sit down and talk it through.”
A reminder all RPA members can access confidential support on the RPA 24/7 helpline on 01373 858 080. You’re not alone, don’t suffer in silence.
This Thursday 4th February we’re encouraging all RPA members to speak up about mental health and join the social media campaign using the #TimeToTalk hashtag. For further information on Time to Talk Day please click here: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday
John Carter is a practicing psychoanalytic psychotherapist in sport. He offers a wide range of sport psychotherapy and psychology services in a confidential setting. To get in touch please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07855 772 849. John also works as an Associate with the RPA’s Confidential Counselling 24/7 helpline on 01373 858 080.