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Time to Change Wales secures funding to tackle mental health stigma among children and young people

written by 13/05/2016

Time to Change Wales has secured nearly £500,000 from the Big Lottery Fund Cymru to increase young people’s awareness and understanding of mental health problems, reduce the stigma, discrimination and social isolation experienced by those with mental health problems and improve wellbeing.

The new Young Persons Programme will build on the existing Time to Change Wales campaign, which was launched in 2012 to reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by adults with mental health problems in Wales. However, this new strand will be led by, and for, young people and will:

  • Recruit and train 50 young people to lead on the development and delivery of training sessions and mental health awareness raising projects in schools, colleges, universities and other community venues.
  • Work in partnership with nine schools to embed a whole school approach to mental health awareness, anti-stigma messaging and activity - led by the Young Champions and working with teachers, parents and other school staff.
  • Target other youth focused organisations such as schools, colleges and universities to sign the Time to Change Wales Organisational Pledge
  • Develop campaign materials to amplify our message, including online resources, leaflets, personal stories and a web presence across various social media platforms throughout Wales, all led by young people.

This new programme is being established in the context of increasing pressures on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and a recent review of the school curriculum (Donaldson Review). Public Health Wales has reported that the number of referrals to CAMHS in Wales has increased by 103% in the last four years. The recent Donaldson Review of the school curriculum recommended that health and wellbeing should be embedded in the new curriculum to build pupils’ mental and emotional well-being.

Our young person's consultation meeting that helped shape the application.

Time to Change Wales has consulted with education and youth professionals across Wales and conducted research with young people.  A survey undertaken as part of the funding application received over 700 responses from young people and found that:

  • Only 28% agreed that it is easy to talk about mental health in their school or college
  • The majority of respondents said they have never talked about mental health with their teachers but nearly 90% said they had talked to their friends about this issue.
  • 34% of respondents agreed that young people in class would be more likely to pick on someone who had time away because of mental health problems.


Antony Metcalfe, Programme Manager of Time to Change Wales, said:

“We are delighted to have secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver a brand new anti-stigma campaign for children and young people. It is crucial that action to improve mental health and reduce discrimination starts at a young age and we believe that this campaign will play an important part in this agenda. We are really pleased to have the support of schools and teaching professionals across Wales and look forward to working with them to improve the lives of young people.”

Both the Association of School and College Leaders and the National Association of Head Teachers have backed the campaign.


Rob Williams, NAHT Cymru Director of Policy said:

“We welcome the Welsh Government’s recognition that wellbeing is at the heart of a thriving society. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act identifies key areas to which we should all aim – two of the key areas include resilience and health.

We are therefore proud and delighted to put our full support behind the Time for Change Wales Young Persons Programme and, in the future, wish to see it impact at a national level for the benefit of all children and young people in Wales.”

 

Tim Pratt, Director of ASCL Cymru added:

“This is great news for the young people of Wales. We are delighted to be able to work with Time to Change Wales, and have no doubt that this funding from the Big Lottery fund will enable significant strides to be made in tackling some of the issues linked to young people’s mental health problems in Wales”


Mair Elliott, young person’s mental health campaigner  

"Growing up sometimes isn't easy, but if you can't talk about the difficulties you are experiencing then everything can become so much harder. In my experience facing mental health stigma is almost as bad as suffering with mental illness itself. 

Time to Change Wales' new Campaign is designed to help with just that. This is a perfect opportunity to tackle mental health stigma amongst the young population in Wales. This Campaign will create a generation of people who don't have to face stigma and discrimination, and can talk about mental health openly without fear."

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