I developed the Let’s Have T.E.A session for Mental Health in 2020 during the first lockdown, when my daughter and I were watching a TV show where someone had passed away. The spouse was taken to the relatives room in the Hospital and offered tea. My daughter and I who had also suffered bereavement not too long before took exception to tea being the solution to this crisis. As I reflected on the situation and my reaction, it occurred to me that ‘TEA’ was the perfect initial solution, the plaster.
Let’s Have T.E.A addresses the 3 aspects involved in taking control on the road to recovery where mental health is concerned.
T.E.A is an acronym for:
- Talk About It
- Express Emotion
- Accept Help & Support
Talking about Mental Health helps to improve our communities by making it more acceptable to seek help. This helps to remove the STIGMA associated with the subject of Mental Health and encourages those who are suffering to get support, learn to cope and start to recover. STIGMA is the Barrier to Recovery, and it needs to be removed.
Talking about Mental Health also helps to highlight the importance of Mental Wellbeing for everyone – sufferers and non-sufferers alike.
WHY PEOPLE GENERALLY DON’T TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH:
- They feel that they have learnt to deal with it.
- They do not wish to be a burden.
- They are too embarrassed.
- They feel that there is a Negative Stigma around the subject.
- They do not want to admit they need help.
- They do not want to appear weak.
- They do not have anyone to talk to.
Young people also have added concerns in addition to the above, which then creates more of a concern when it comes to disclosing. Please see below a number of these concerns.
WHY YOUNG PEOPLE DON’T TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH:
- Worried that people might think that they are weird.
- Not wanting to be treated differently.
- Fear of people spreading rumours.
- Thinking that people might say they it is rubbish & that they are just being silly.
- Concerned that people might make a big deal out of it.
- Worried that people might say nasty things.
Let’s Have T.E.A is designed to enable us as a community to normalise mental health and become more comfortable talking openly about it. By ‘it’ I mean whatever is going on with us as individuals.
In England in particular, we love our tea. It seems to solve problems and is a soothing balm for pain. So, how does this work? Well, tea in itself is not the miracle worker, but rather the safe setting in which the tea is being provided. The individual making the tea is offering their time and listening and providing a shoulder. “A problem shared is a problem half solved” has always been my understanding. No matter how small or huge our concern is, it is imperative that each of us can access a shoulder, an outlet. At worst, we get stuff off our chest and at best we get support, or we are signposted to the best place to receive the necessary help. It is a win-win situation. Of course, it goes without saying that we talk to or disclose to someone we can trust, so my advice to anyone reading this is to identify your ‘TRUST’ person now. That way, the individual is there if ever needed. The flip side of this advice is that anyone reading this should become a ‘TRUST’ person. This is my new lingo – TRUST PERSON! Let us be sensitive, respectful, and approachable, and let us be trustworthy enough for others to confide in, knowing that we will keep their confidence.
Let’s Have T.E.A! is a concept that we should all embrace if we are to make mental health conversations easier and normal.