Time to Change
On Tuesday, 13th April, I was one of over 150 people invited to a breakfast reception at the Emirates S tadium hosted by “Time to Change” which is a partnership of Mind, Rethink and the Institute of Psychiatry. The organisation is governed by a Joint Management Group with a representative from each of the partners behind the programme as well as Sue Baker , the Director of Time to Change , who hosted the event.
As well as challenging discrimination , Time to Change takes a whole-population, wellbeing approach that embraces the link between mental and physical health for everyone. With 1 in 4 people affected by mental health problems the work of this organisation is clearly invaluable. It is funded by £16 million from the Big Lottery Fund and £4m from Comic Relief.
In the first year of this project the focus was mainly on campaigning, carrying out research and asking people to realise that stigma and discrimination happen and that the issue is relevant to all of us.
TV ads were run and adverts were placed in papers, on the London underground, in pubs and on-line. The campaign featured celebrities alongside everyday people with mental health issues and busted some of the common myths about mental health problems. On-line films have been made to tackle the powerful stereotype that links mental health problems with violence head on. Road shows have been carried out in 12 locations around England to spread the word about Time to Change and get everyone involved. As a result of their work this last year, they have got mental health into the public consciousness and have got people to start thinking about its relevance.
Since October 2007 their community projects have worked with 28,363 people both with and without experience of mental health problems. Early evaluation has shown that involvement with the project has had a significant impact on the wellbeing of participants after just three months of involvement. Over the last year and a half a number of events and projects have taken place.
GET MOVING EVENTS.
These events were held to bring people with and without mental health problems together using fun physical activity events as a basis for social contact. This involved direct contact between people who have experienced mental health problems and people who have not and is shown to have a significant positive impact on stigma and discrimination. Activities included gardening, dancing, walking, football, softball, conservation, running, swimming and space hopper racing. These were tools for bringing people together in a fun way and breaking the ice to get people talking about mental health.
EDUCATION NOT DISCRIMINATION
The Education Not Discrimination (END) project provides anti-stigma training to professional groups who have a significant impact on the lives of people with mental health problems. As with other elements of Time to Change, it’s based on the theory that social contact is one of the most powerful ways of challenging stigma.
Evaluation has shown that student teachers taking part in END training have seen a significant positive change in their knowledge and attitudes as a result, as well as in the way in which they intend to behave towards people with mental health problems.
Open Up is led by people with lived experience of mental health issues. They support people to challenge mental health discrimination at grassroots level. The project provided training, networking and mentoring opportunities where people can share skills and resources and develop their ideas, giving them the tools and the confidence they need to challenge discrimination for themselves.
Mind Out, Bournemouth supports people from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community with mental health problems. As one of its 2008-2009 Initiatives, OpenUP supported a group of people with experience of mental health problems from MindOut to produce a play about the combination of mental health discrimination and discrimination against people from the LGBT community. The group have been performing the play to local service providers and employers to help change attitudes.
As well as outlining the work of Time for Change , Sue Baker told us that :
18,000 + people have signed up to receive updates.
1 in 6 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion supporting the aims of Time to Change.
27,000 people have taken part in Get Moving events.
24,500+ have joined them on Face Book at www.facebook.com/timetochange
34 million people have seen their campaign.
At the end of the presentation people were asked to pledge their help to help end mental health prejudice.
My pledge was to inform our members about Time to Change and to give whatever support I could to the organisation.
National Equality Officer