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It’s time to talk about your stoma

6th February 2019

Every year on February 7th, Time to Talk Day is celebrated across the world in a bid to raise awareness of the stigma that is associated with mental health. Astonishingly, figures have shown that at least a quarter of people are troubled by mental health issues, yet many sufferers do not feel comfortable opening up about how they feel.

The devastating 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 everybody, no matter their age, to open up to someone they trust every once in a while and talk about anything that is bothering them. Following on from this terrible incident, people around the world have been sharing photos of their own colostomy bags on Instagram, using the hashtag #BagsOutforSeven as a sign of support for Seven’s loved ones.

Time to Talk Day aims to help people feel comfortable talking about mental health so that the world can be a happier place, which will ultimately reduce the chances of such an incident happening in future.

On the subject of opening up and talking about things that might be close to the heart, we understand that a large number of ostomates find it daunting to talk about their stoma. We believe that this should not be the case. Everybody has their own story to tell, and we want people to feel comfortable when talking about their bag.

There’s no doubt that talking to people about your stoma can be quite an alarming thought at first. Don’t worry though; you will be surprised at how understanding the majority of people will be, as many of them will know someone else who is a fellow ostomate.

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 have a supportive chat with. 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 that it really helps to have a colleague who is aware of their stoma and understands the daily challenges that it can bring.

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, it’s as if there is always someone online to talk to you if you ever need some help or advice.. Of course, it’s not the same meeting face-to-face, but the support is still there. It’s a ‘closed’ group too, which means that only members of the group will be able to see what you post. You can join here.

Attend a local support group

Perhaps you had no idea, but there are actually quite a lot of support groups for ostomates in most regions across the UK. Your stoma might make you feel alone sometimes, however, these support groups encourage everybody to talk to each other about their feelings everybody looks after one another. You can find out where your local support group is and how often they meet by clicking here.

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. That’s where the professionals come in. 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 provide you with professional guidance as well as being able to answer any questions that you might have. As well as this, you’ve also got the option of getting in touch with one of our own Goldcare nurses. We 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. If you’d like to find out more about Time to Talk Day, you can do so here.

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