There Is Still Time To Change

I was reminded by Timehop of a post I originally wrote on 12 November 2014, in which I explained what the Time To Change (TTC) organisation does and why I had added myself to their pledge wall. This was a particularly poignant reminder because, as I have mentioned a couple of times recently, TTC’s funding will cease from the end of March, so I thought I’d share that post again – I imagine most of you won’t have seen it before:

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 to the right side 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.

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TTC’s work cannot be allowed to be forgotten. We need to keep doing all we can to reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues.

 

27 thoughts on “There Is Still Time To Change

  1. Pingback: We Carry On | Take It Easy

  2. As a long-time sufferer with the black dog, I know how easy it is for people to shrug and say pull yourself together when perhaps a few kind words would help.. I can’t/Won’t use the phone so someone else has to deal with that for me and I’m no longer a social animal except online. Unfortunately, I think Covid is doing the same to many others by isolating them.It’s good to reach out.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • People often mean well but don’t know what to say, for fear of making things worse. There was a piece in the paper a few days ago about the potential long term mental health impacts from Covid – I’ve been mulling it over as the basis for a post as it will, I’m sure, be the hidden and forgotten legacy of the pandemic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I think many people fear mental health issues, and don’t feel they can do anything to help. If only we could all see that, as you say, being an expert isn’t a necessary qualification for providing support.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that many, many people experience mental health issues, Clive. Maybe that is why some people stigmatise it, because they are anxious about their own mental health. I am always happy to hear about this sort of support for mental health issues and wish there were more. Have a lovely weekend, Clive.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Clive, mental illness has a spectrum as wide as physical illnesses. I know that it’s easier to say I have an ulcer or cancer, but it’s hard to say I have anxiety or depression. Even with depression, it’s easier to say it’s a physiological depression or chemical imbalance than phycological depression.

    I too encourage people to talk about mental illness the same way they share about their physical illness. Thank you for sharing this post.

    Liked by 2 people

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