This week, Bristol has been named as a Time to Change hub, set up to change how we all think and act about mental health locally.
Time to Change hubs are networks of local organisations and individuals committed to ending negative attitudes and behaviours towards people experiencing mental health problems in their communities.
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 have equal opportunities 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 hubs have been created to combine the insights from the national campaign with local knowledge to support communities, workplaces and schools to take action to improve the way everyone thinks and acts about mental health problems in their area.
Time to Change, the national campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, launched its first regional hubs in March 2017. The announcement of four further hubs (Waltham Forest, Nottingham, Bristol, and Worcestershire) is part of the campaign’s three year plan to establish a network of hubs across England to provide a focus for local campaigning work.
In order to be named a Time to Change hub, local partnerships had to demonstrate their commitment to:
- Embedding anti-stigma and discrimination work in their own organisations
- Campaigning for change in their communities
- Putting people with personal experience of mental health problems at the heart of their work.
Time to Change Bristol is made up of the 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.
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. Becoming a Time to Change hub will be instrumental in the work to bring our city together to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination as part of our new ‘Thrive Bristol’ programme. We are leading this 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.”
Tom Renhard, Representation & Accountability Officer for BIMHN, said: “Here at BIMHN we are thrilled that Bristol will be hosting a Time to Change hub. It is a testament to the work of local individuals and organisations that have been at the forefront of challenging mental health stigma and discrimination for many years. As a member-led organisation for those with lived experience of mental health, we are pleased to be leading the coordination of the hub, alongside Bristol City Council and local partners, ensuring that those with personal experience of mental health problems are truly at the heart of everything the hub does.”
Liz Andrews, Open Dialogue Therapist for Wellbeans Initiative CIC, said: “We were privileged to be involved with the Time to Change Pilot Hub, 2015 / 16 and what an amazing, incredible year it was! To work with, and, witness such change in self-esteem and confidence with so many passionate and dedicated champions was all inspiring! We are thrilled yet again, to work with Time to Change during the coming year, enabling us to embed the work of Time to Change throughout the city and wider communities, creating sustainability and continuing its legacy in the years to come."
Debi Hadley, Service Manager for Bristol Community Support Services, said: “Our Bristol Community Support Services (Rethink Mental Illness) feel passionate about being part of the TTC Bristol Hub, and look forward to working with our partners to enable more people with lived experience to fulfil their ambitions of challenging discrimination and promoting mental health across the City.”
Since their initial launch, Time to Change regional hubs have successfully campaigned to end mental health stigma and discrimination. Their work has ranged from closing down a stigmatising game ‘experience’ where participants are challenged to escape from a scary ‘asylum’ to supporting Time to Talk Day (1 February 2018) and running events to delivering PR campaigns aimed at improving understanding and respect for people living with a mental health problem.
Jo Loughran, Operations Director at Time to Change, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with organisations and individuals in Bristol to create a sustainable campaign for change, tailored to the needs and priorities of the local community.
“In the past our work locally has been driven by the passion and commitment of individual champions. By having hubs in place we’re making sure the wider community is more involved and that there is strong local leadership and expertise in place to provide support.”
The first Time to Change hubs, announced in March 2017, are based in Cumbria; Leeds; Suffolk and West Sussex. For more information about Time to Change hubs visit the Time to Change website.