Tackling mental health stigma one day at a time
A wide range of activity is happening across Leeds to highlight Time to Talk Day 2018 which is on Thursday 1 February.
Time to Talk Day 2018 is highlighting that wherever you are – at home, at work, in the market or on the Chevin – you can have a conversation about mental health. Any place can be right for talking about mental health, and the national charity Time to Change wants everyone to think about how we can bring the theme to life in our schools, workplaces and communities.
A group of Leeds Time to Change champions are hosting an informal ‘Quiz and Chat’ activity at The Old Fire Station in Gipton to inspire conversations about mental health. The event takes place on 1st February, 11am to 2pm, and will see a range of activities including quizzes, free giveaways and a poetry exhibition.
The event aims to give people a chance to chat about mental health problems with people who have direct experience and can share their understanding.
At Leeds City Council, elected members are joining in an event to share good practice for prevention and mental health on the 31st January.
Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council executive member for health, wellbeing and adults said:
“Leeds has a really strong commitment to being a mentally healthy city, endorsed by the city’s health and wellbeing board. It is a core element of our aim to improve mental and physical health across the city, across ages and communities. We know many people with mental health problems feel isolated and if we can help by talking about it, it is a really good way to make a difference.
“By having specific information and training for Councillors, we are helping share good practice. This will make it easier to play our part in making a difference in the communities we represent, as well as where we live and work.”
Catherine Ward a health improvement professional at Leeds City Council specialising in mental health issues said:
““Most people now know one in four people experience mental health problems, but we still have more to do to end the stigma surrounding mental illness and more people need to feel comfortable talking openly about it.
“Just like physical health, we don’t need it to be only left to people with mental health problems to talk about mental health. While some treat it as a taboo subject, only be spoken about in quiet corners, mental health affects us all and we should all feel able to talk about it. So if you’re happy to talk about a footballer’s broken metatarsal or your colleague’s man flu, why not mental health?”
A range of other activities are planned across the city linked to Time to Talk Day.
Damian Dawtry, Men’s Engagement Worker with The Orion Partnership said:
“Sometimes, the way you dress can reflect the way you feel, so if we can help men to look good then perhaps we can help them to feel good too. In partnership with St Vincent’s Support Centre and the council we’ve arranged a Free Clothes with Personal Dresser Service to be run in Parkway Towers, 1st Feb 11:30am – 1:30pm, giving men the chance to chat, while trying on some nice new clothes and hopefully putting a spring in their step.
“Getting a haircut often gives men a chance to chat with someone about what is happening in their life, to talk about mental health, so we’re hoping to sort out more activities later in month with barbers too. If anyone wants to set up events or help out, especially with the haircuts, then please get in touch.”
Money is still available for anyone in Leeds who would like to run an event in Leeds to challenge mental health stigma. The ‘Champions Fund’ is available for people with lived experience of mental health problems to run activities which encourage conversation between people with lived experience of mental health problems and those who may not.
A group of mental health ambassadors from Hyde Park Harriers were successful in applying for the fund and will be running their own ‘treasure hunt’ event to challenge mental health stigma and encourage conversation at Woodhouse Community Centre and Woodhouse Ridge on Saturday 17th March.
The group will also be holding a short #runandtalk on Time to Talk Day starting at 6.15 from the Edge, University of Leeds. They’ll be chatting about the importance of talking about mental health and sharing tips for starting these conversations. They will be going for a short run at 6.15pm followed by stretching afterwards.