We Carry On

You may recall that in my post There Is Still Time To Change I told you that the excellent Time To Change (TTC) organisation was coming to the end of its road on 31 March, as it was no longer going to be in receipt of government funding. Well, that day has been and gone, and the organisation is no more, as shown by these two emails that I received on the day:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is sad to see them go, but it is good to know that their work will be continued. Their two parent organisations, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, are both well established as providers of support for mental health, and as one of the ongoing effects of the pandemic will cause an increased demand for mental health services all such support is likely to be required.

As the emails make clear, the main focus of TTC’s work has been on attempting to reduce the stigma which attach to mental illness, and to change attitudes towards it. The continuation of a legacy website as a resource is very good news, as is the fact that Time To Talk Day will also still be with us. I posted #TimeToTalk Day 2021 for this year, and look forward to doing so again next year. I’ve checked the website, which is indeed still there, though it appears to be lacking some of its visuals. You can find it here if you’d like to know more.

The websites for the other two organisations I have mentioned are also well worth visiting for information, especially if you are in need of support or know someone who is. This is Rethink, and here is Mind. I was a volunteer committee member for one of Mind’s local branches for many years, and can testify from first hand experience to how much good work they do. I hope you or your loved ones don’t need their help, but their resources are there for you if you do.

This has been very much a British-based post, but mental health is a concern everywhere. If you are in the USA, as many of my readers are, the Healthy Place organisation runs a campaign called Stand Up For Mental Health: you can find a link by clicking the image to the right or by using this link. The World Health Organisation also has a page for mental health, from which you will be able to find links to other countries: just go here.

Sadly, I fear that there will always be a need to reduce the stigma around mental health, as this is so ingrained in so many people and in so many parts of society. But please, please, if you think you or someone close to you needs help, don’t let this deter you from asking for it. I know from my own experience that taking that first step is the hardest thing to do, and being afraid of what others might say or think of you is part of that. But rest assured that it will be the right thing to do, and you won’t regret it. And whilst there are organisations campaigning against the stigma, there will always be someone in your corner. Take care, and I wish you a Happy Easter.

 

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.

*************************

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.