Time To Change: My Pledge

Time To Talk

You may not have heard of the Time To Change initiative, which is led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, two of the leading mental health organisations in the UK, and is funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the National Lottery.

Time to Change began seven years ago and is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. It aims to start a conversation – or thousands of conversations – about aspects of mental health, to help people become more comfortable talking about it. They have a range of activities in progress, which you can read about here on their website. There is also plenty of useful information there, so it is well worth a visit. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and if you use the hashtag for their campaign – #TimeToTalk – you should see what people are saying and doing.

Estimates usually suggest that around one in four people will experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime, and that 90% of these are likely to experience discrimination. It is commonplace in our culture: witness the large furore last year when Asda and Tesco sold ‘mental patient’ costumes for Halloween. They may not have done this again this year but plenty of others did. I don’t recall seeing any ‘cancer patient’ or ‘irritable bowel patient’ costumes though. Use of words like ‘mental’ and ‘nutter’ is also frequent, and whilst most of us have the ability to bypass this there are some to whom it is acutely hurtful.

In Time To Change’s words: You don’t need to be an expert to talk about mental health or to be there for someone experiencing a mental health problem. Small actions, like sending a text, chatting over a cuppa, or giving them a call to find out how they are can really make a big difference and show someone that you care.

I know from my own experience that when I was off sick for nine months with depression calls from friends were always very welcome. I hope I’ve been able to help others too, either directly or, via this blog, indirectly. Time To Change have a Pledge Wall, to which over 70,000 people have pinned their own pledge to help fight against stigmatisation and discrimination against Pledgedmental illness. I have made my pledge, and if there isn’t anyone in my life who needs my support I can always blog about it, can’t I? So, please take a moment to think about this. Do you know someone who would appreciate a chat with you, however brief, and would welcome someone who asks ‘how are you?’ and wants to know the answer? Even if you can’t do that right now, you can still make your pledge on the Wall. There are plenty of ways of having that conversation and who knows, it might one day be you who needs the chat.

PS I know this is very much aimed at readers on this side of the Atlantic, but the issues addressed by Time To Change are universal. So please check what is available where you live. In the USA, for example, there is the Stand Up For Mental Health campaign. Their logo is at the top of this site: you should be able to click on it to be taken to healthyplace.com but if it doesn’t work click here.

13 thoughts on “Time To Change: My Pledge

  1. Stevie Turner February 15, 2019 / 3:34 pm

    I helped a colleague of mine at work who panicked every time she went out of the office. I always walked with her and eventually she realised she was panicking about panicking. After she had 2 children she was so busy that she didn’t have time to panic! She’s okay now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive February 15, 2019 / 3:46 pm

      Sometimes all that people need is a friend to listen to them, to share their thoughts and worries. I’m glad you could help her 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stevie Turner February 15, 2019 / 3:56 pm

        I used to tell her to be proud of ‘little victories’, such as walking to Medical Records without panicking. Any victory, however small, is a step nearer recovery.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive February 15, 2019 / 3:58 pm

        Exactly right! A good way to help her.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. robertawrites235681907 February 12, 2019 / 5:53 pm

    This is another lovely post, Clive. I am glad people are taking the time to promote understanding of mental illness. I am certainly not an expert but I have a sister and a son with mental health issues so I am really trying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive February 12, 2019 / 6:29 pm

      Thank you! I’m sorry to hear that some of those closest to you are suffering, and hope they are getting good professional care as well as your love and support. Awareness is better than it used to be but there is still so much to do. It’s what I describe as ‘pushing water uphill, with a rake.’ Mine is just one small voice, but there are many others sharing the message.


  3. ellenbest24 February 12, 2019 / 3:20 pm

    There are many new mental health initiatives now than ever before; thank goodness. It is less stigmatised than it once was, but we still have a way to go. And for Valentines week what better than to give a donation or lend someone your ear. To just hear what someone wants to say. As someone very close to a person who suffered a full breakdown I have and still learn a lot. Though years have spanned the gap between then and now; the suffering never completely ends. Listening alone is not enough, hearing and being mindful of other people n is key. Keep well and have a nice Valentines week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive February 12, 2019 / 3:47 pm

      I think the problem is that the more that is done, the more it uncovers Further need. That certainly was my experience with the new services we developed in my working life in a specialist mental health trust. It is always a good time to offer support, but I take your point about this week. Hopefully others will do that too. I’m sorry to hear that you have first hand experience of this, it shows in your sensitive approach. You take care too.


  4. Clive February 12, 2019 / 12:52 pm

    Reblogged this on Take It Easy and commented:

    I was looking back through my previous posts, trying to find something I wrote in the early days. As you do, I stumbled across something I didn’t recall writing – old age can be such a pain sometimes! This post is from November 2014 and, rather than being specifically written for #TimeToTalkDay, as I did last week, this is an explanatory piece about the organisation behind that day: Time To Change. It struck me that this would be a good follow up to last week’s post, so here it is. Unusually for a post dating so far back, all of the links still work.

    I hope you can find a few moments to read this previous post and to follow the links and find out more. This is why I started blogging and, despite occasional appearances to the contrary, is why I am still doing this. We can never underestimate how important it is to take care of our mental health, and to support and promote those who are sharing this message.

    Take care.


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