Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie throws support behind Time to Change's 'Ask Twice' campaign aimed at removing stigma around mental health

Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie has thrown his support behind Time to Change's 'Ask Twice' campaign, which is aimed at removing the stigma around mental health.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 16:04 pm
Sheffield United's Oli McBurnie (right): Ian Walton/PA Wire.

New research released by the mental health anti-stigma campaign reveals that when asked, over three quarters (78 per cent) of people would tell friends and family we are ‘fine’, even if struggling with a mental health problem.

When asked why, responses suggest people doubt whether others really want to hear the honest answer.

The new campaign urges people to Ask Twice if they suspect a friend, family member, or colleague might be struggling with their mental health. The campaign says the simple act of asking again, with interest, shows a genuine willingness to talk and listen.

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And Blades striker McBurnie today showed his support for the campaign, tweeting a video with the caption “Even if my mates say they’re fine, I will #AskTwice.”

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said “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.”

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Deian, 45, from Bath, has experienced depression. He said: “I’ve pretended to be fine when I’m not countless times! I’ve had mental health problems on and off my whole life including suicidal thoughts which eventually ended my marriage. It can take a lot to open up about mental health problems. It makes a big difference knowing that people are asking because they care and want to try and support.

“My friends do ask if I’m ok, but I’d feel more comfortable opening up if they asked me more than once. When I have been able to talk in the past, it really has been life-changing. If people are unsure of how to support their friends or family, I’d say just ask how they are, twice if necessary, and find out how they are really feeling.”

Time to Change has compiled some tips on how to support a friend who does open up:

Take it seriously, don’t judge Actively listen – ask open questions, summarise to show you’ve listened and reflect. Remember you don’t have to fix it A simple “that sounds difficult” can show you care

For more information, tips, and to view the campaign video, visit www.time-to-change.org.uk/asktwice.