Free training sessions are on offer with Time to Change Bristol to help people to join a growing movement of people changing how we all think and act about mental health problems.
The training is available over the next month to enable people to become Champions for the Bristol Time to Change hub, which is a network of local organisations and individuals committed to ending negative attitudes and behaviours towards people experiencing mental health problems.
Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless. But with the right support from those around them, people can recover and experience equality of opportunity in all areas of life. Encouraging people to open up to mental health – to talk and to listen – is the first step.
Time to Change Champions are people with lived experience of mental health problems and are vital campaigners for the movement as they have links to communities, come from a diverse range of backgrounds with various levels of previous experiences and skills.
Cllr Asher Craig, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “One of our key ambitions is for Bristol to become a city where everyone feels safe speaking out about mental health issues and where we can secure the support we need when we need it.
“Time to Change Champions are an essential part of the work to bring our city together to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination as they have first-hand experience in dealing with mental health problems.
“Their understanding and local focus will be instrumental in our upcoming Thrive Bristol programme, which we are leading with Bristol’s Anti Stigma Alliance with the help of our local universities, employers and unions alongside our partners in the voluntary sector, NHS and police.
“By working together as a city and using the expertise and support offered by the national Time to Change campaign we be believe we can make great progress towards Bristol becoming a city free from stigma and discrimination around mental health.”
Kata Papunen, a Time to Change Champion, said: "I became a Time to Change Champion in 2014, after an amazing summer of volunteering at Time to Change events in Bristol. I am passionate about mental health campaigning, reducing stigma and empowering others as well as myself, and I find that Time to Change provides the perfect network, support and cause to combine what I care for and what I can do and learn.
"By becoming a champion I have had a unique chance to further develop my skills in event management with the support of the champions forum, training opportunities and online material.
"Best of all, the Champions Fund allows us champions to bid for funding to help turn our ideas into reality. Having the funds to organise any kind of event or activity is a big hurdle, but thanks to the Champions Fund I don’t have to worry about that. Whether I want to organise a small coffee social or take part in a public campaigning day, the Champions Fund is there to help.
"I am grateful for the amazing support the Time to Change community continues to give, and I am looking forward to doing more good this summer with a very inspiring network."
If you are interested in joining the social movement to change how we think and act about mental health problems and becoming a Time to Change Champion, sign up for one of the training sessions in Bristol:
• 17 May 9.30am - 1.30pm: Social Contact – https://ttcbristol-social-contact-training.eventbrite.co.uk
• 24 May 9.30am - 1.30pm: Workshop for Champions in Hubs – How to influence and participate – https://ttcbristol-influence-and-participation-training.eventbrite.co.uk
Time to Change Bristol is made up of the Bristol City Council, Bristol Independent Mental Health Network (BIMHN), Wellbeans Initiative CIC and Rethink Bristol with support from partners across the city – including employers, unions, universities, police and the NHS.
Time to Change the national campaign is run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.