Time to Change

Bexleyheath Centre based Social Inclusion Project Manager, Japleen Kaur, was one of around 50 health professionals to attend a Time to Change regional partnership workshop event in London recently.

The Time to Change (TTC) slogan is “let’s end mental health discrimination”. The workshop, one of many that took place around the country last month, set out how different NHS and other interested organisations can work together to tackle mental health stigma and promote social inclusion.

Japleen said: “It was a very invigorating and refreshing day and gave me a chance to be able to showcase the good work that Oxleas is currently doing around tackling stigma and discrimination associated with mental health, and it was a wonderful opportunity to network with like minded people and learn from their experiences of running projects on social inclusion.

“One of the workshops that I found very interesting was around social contact, we were asked to have a ‘thunder storm’ of venues/communities/agencies that we could positively influence to help tackle stigma and discrimination.

“However, I had one key question still left unanswered. It is great to see so many organisations getting involved in the campaign and see the passion of getting people to talk about their mental health issues by disclosure, but what awaits them at the other end? It will require a tumultuous effort for us to create this social mobility of people feeling safe and secure when they do begin to disclose as openly as TTC hopes.”

Sue Baker, Director, Time to Change, talked about funding for the future of TTC  and was confident, the main sources of income: The National Lottery Fund and Comic Relief would continue. She said: ”We are certainly not winding down, we are winding up. We are working hard to secure a future for TTC when our funding ends in September.

She said in the TTC Annual Report: “Our social movement is growing in confidence, with signs that behaviour change amongst the general public is not just possible but is already happening in England, as evidenced by a reported reduction in discrimination this year.

“We believe long-term investment is needed to overturn generations of prejudice, and that tackling the discrimination that prevents so many people from being active citizens should be part of any future government mental health strategy. It would be a tragedy to lose the opportunity of building on the early gains we have made just as the tide is beginning to turn.”

One of the main tenants of TTC campaigning thrust for the future is social contact. Its research shows that attitude, knowledge and behaviour towards people with mental health problems are more likely to improve following the opportunity to learn from someone with personal experience. To have lasting change, TTC wants to create more opportunities for that to happen, at local events or virtually; breaking down the barriers to understanding the issues.

A key element of any successful social contact activity, says TTC,  is the inclusion of people with lived in experience in the planning and delivery of local campaigns.

Photo Caption

Bexleyheath Centre based Social Inclusion Project Manager, Japleen Kaur (left), was one of around 50 health professionals to attend a Time to Change regional partnership workshop event in London recently. She is pictured with Sue Baker, Director, Time to Change.

Related information

Published on 3rd February 2011