Red storm warning, an angry sea throwing stones at the road and the car door ripped from my hand, as we arrived at Venue Cymru for the Educators’ Event.
The spectacular display of nature was a great introduction to the spectacular day ahead, where Champions and Educators-to-be were informed about Time to Change Wales. The event, led by Sara, Melanie and Humie, assisted by Lynne, was in a room overlooking the turbulent waves, but inside all was calm, with a feeling of anticipation as the room began to fill up.
We all introduced ourselves and shared the reasons why mental health education was important in our lives. Many people were from companies and businesses and it was so inspiring to hear how they wanted to inform and educate others in the work place. Some had direct experience of mental health, but all wanted to be part of the change in attitudes towards mental health, where a supportive, non-judgemental work place would be an accepted, normal approach, rather than the exception.
Participation was encouraged, as we were directed to a table piled with advertising material and asked to decorate the room. Eager as a class of primary school children, the white, formal room was creatively transformed by a riot of colour; we had made ourselves at home! Then it was off to the cinema room, where it got really interesting; an informative film about the work and events surrounding Time to Change Wales, and how Champions make all the difference by sharing their personal experience. Then Gethin did his thing ... he introduced the new web page for Time to Change Wales and showed us how to navigate the exciting changes.
After lunch Jane shared her story. I have heard parts of it before, but I never lose the lonely feeling of that little child and the damage that was caused is heart wrenching. However, Jane stands strong and with an indomitable sense of humour is an amazing woman! The day finished on a positive note with everyone going forward with a sense connection as a group and with the cause, to spread the word that we all have mental health and there is no shame in talking about it!
If you would like to become a Time to Change Wales Champion and attend future events, click here!