National Conversation Week

 In Awareness Campaigns, Mental Health

National Conversation Week will take place on the 19th – 25th March and aims to simply get people talking to each other again. You can find out how you can get involved at the National Conversation Week website.

Why is National Conversation Week important?

Getting people conversing properly again is now more important than ever! Over the last couple of decades, we have increasingly ditched the traditional face to face interactions, that past generations have enjoyed, and have swapped them for little faces, thumbs ups and other symbols that negate the use of words.

Yes, technology has started to take over the way we communicate with people, and most people rarely go ten minutes without checking their phone to see if their latest picture has been liked, or if someone has replied to that hilarious meme they posted on the group chat.

This is what National Conversation Week is trying to get people away from. Ungluing those from their communication devices and getting them to actually go and talk to people face to face. To have a conversation.

This is easier than you might think! The National Conversation Week Website has some ideas on what you can do to ensure you are conversing more regularly.

  • “Ring or FaceTime a family member instead of using text or WhatsApp
  • Have a family meal at the table and without the TV blaring away in the background
  • Take a break from binge-watching that box set to talk about your day with your significant other
  • Speak to a colleague instead of playing email tennis (and getting nowhere)
  • Agree to some phone free time when out for drinks or dinner with friends.
  • If you’re a parent why not tell your children why conversations are important. Encourage them to talk and confide in you. Make a point of listening to everything they want to tell you during National Conversation Week, no matter how small or trivial.
  • If you’re a teacher, focus on the importance of conversation and conversation skills – and have some fun conversation-themed activities in class during the week.
  • If you’re a client-focused business or organisation, be conscious of your listening skills and how valuable your advice and guidance are to your clients.”

How can this week help with people’s mental health?

A 2016 article in The Independent suggested that “rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70 percent in the past 25 years and the number of children going to hospital for a psychiatric condition has more than doubled since 2009”.

Rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70 percent in the past 25 years

This is an extremely worrying statistic and although there may be many reasons for this high increase, cyberbullying and the selfie culture are thought to be two of the main protagonists. Social Media has meant that people are coming back from work/ school and their problems are following them home.

Cyberbullying has become a big thing in recent years, and some people can get hounded on social media, causing mental health conditions to develop. Similarly, in this technological age, people are only ever a few clicks away from seeing unrealistic pictures of others, which can cause body issues.

Refraining from going on social media can’t cure a mental health problem, but limiting your use of technology can help to prevent one developing, as constant use of phones and tablets isn’t healthy for anyone. It can feed on all of your insecurities and in some cases, cause them to grow out of control.

Also, having proper conversations with friends and families rather than texting or using WhatsApp can be more emotionally fulfilling. Having face to face interactions lets each person know that they have the others undivided attention and you can feel like you connect more. This will satisfy your emotional needs a lot more and let you know people care about you enough to set aside time to talk for whatever reason.

So why not take part?

So having a conversation can be emotionally nourishing and, dare I say it, even fun! Here in the Ashtons Marketing office, we will be trying our hardest not to send internal emails this week and actually go and talk to the relevant person face to face. What are you going to do?



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