Taking place annually in February, Time to Talk Day is all about raising the awareness of mental health. The aim of the day is to try and make sure that there is no more stigma associated with it. Figures have proven that at least one in four of us are affected by mental health issues, yet many are afraid to talk about it.
The shocking news that 10-year-old, Seven Bridges, recently committed suicide following relentless bullying at school because of his colostomy bag highlights just how important it is for people of all ages to stand up for one another and to get things off of their chest before it is too late. However, as a sign of solidarity for Seven and also as a way to show support for other ostomates, people are starting to share photos of their own bags on Instagram using the hashtag #BagsOutforSeven.
Whatever it takes to get people to talk about mental health, the aim of Time to Talk Day is to is to bring people together and show each other that we care.
At the same time, we understand that a lot of ostomates find it difficult to talk about their stoma. This shouldn’t be the case. Everybody has a different story to tell, and, we want people to feel comfortable when talking about their ileostomy, colostomy or urostomy.
There’s no doubt that talking to people about your stoma can be quite a scary thought. However, there’s no need to worry. The majority of people will be understanding and supportive of your situation, and they will probably know somebody else who also has a stoma.
Attend a local support group
You might not be aware of it, but there are a number of support groups for ostomates in most regions across the UK. Whilst having a stoma might make you feel alone, these support groups encourage people to talk to each other about their feelings and life in general. If you want to attend, find out where your nearest support group is and how often they meet.
Join Colostomy UK’s closed Facebook group
Perhaps a sign of the times, but Colostomy UK have set up a Facebook group for like-minded ostomates to talk and share their experiences with each other online. The great thing about this is that, with almost 7,000 members, there will always be somebody who is free to talk. Although it may not be the same as a face-to-face meeting, the support is still there. The group is a ‘closed’ group, which means that only members will be able to see what you post.
Talk to your friends, family and close colleagues
The chances are that your family members will already be aware of your stoma and were there for you during your surgery. The same goes for your close friends, too. If you’re ever feeling down, you know that you can count on your loved ones to be able to open up to. In addition to this, your employer might also be aware of your situation if you had a lot of time off work during your operation and recovery. Some ostomates find it beneficial to have someone at work who is aware of their stoma and understands the day-to-day challenges it can bring.
Speak to your stoma nurse or a Goldcare nurse
Whilst it’s good to get your worries off your chest, there are some issues that not everybody has the answer to or knows the best way to help. If you ever have any issues with regards to your stoma itself you can always speak to your dedicated stoma nurse. They will be able to give guidance and listen to any worries you might have about your stoma. In addition to this, there is also the option to get in touch with one of our own healthcare professionals. They can provide impartial guidance and product support.
Although having a stoma is daunting at first, the main thing to remember is that you are not alone, and you should be proud of your ostomy. Find out more about Time to Talk Day here.