Time to Change Wales (TTCW) is pleased to announce details of nine new community projects to get people talking about mental health across Wales.
The projects are funded by TTCW and delivered by Champions, people with experience of mental health problems.
TTCW Programme Manager Ant Metcalfe said:
“Time to Change Wales is proud to fund a programme of exciting new projects led by Champions in communities around Wales, designed to bring together people who have experienced mental health problems and those who have not.
It’s great to see such a diverse range of projects using art, music and video production among other activities designed get people talking about mental health and help end stigma in Welsh communities.”
Dual control is a film based project exploring the experiences of people with a ‘dual diagnosis’ of alcohol or substance misuse and mental health problems.
Project lead Charles explains:
“Our aim is to film people from as many different backgrounds as possible across Wales who are in recovery from substance misuse or addiction and who have suffered or are suffering from mental health problems talking about their past lives, their present and their plans for the future.
We will combine these interview stories with compelling testimony from leading professionals in the field of addiction and mental health.
We will also interview and record the stories where possible of the participants family members, friends and work colleagues who have seen that person travel their journey – one thing we can be sure of is that many of these ‘associates’ often started with one perception of mental health and addiction and ended up with a completely different one!”
MaDCaff is a great new music and dance project working in Ceredigion. The project will bring together people with and without experience of mental health to come along and enjoy the music and dance performances.
Project lead Miranda Betts from New Quay said:
“The main aim behind the project is to give musicians and dancers with mental health problems a safe space to share their stories, skills and talents, and to get people together talking about mental health.
There will be a ‘swap-shop’ at each café event, where people can bring and swap cds, books, clothes etc, as well as time to talk and meet new people, and of course, tea and cake!”
Shana Bashana is led by the Ashiana women’s group who are working in conjunction with Newport Mind. The project aims to raise awareness of mental health issues within Asian communities and to encourage open conversations to bring about better understanding of how stigma and discrimination can affect family life.
The project includes a public event with stalls and workshops and will produce a TTCW banner with positive messages of wellbeing created in different languages, along with awareness raising workshops, holistic therapy sessions and creative art.
Project Lead Rahila Hamid says “Ashiana was the first of its kind set up 16 years ago to support women from the Asian community with their mental health. This project gives that group a voice and an opportunity to raise awareness which may have a lasting impact”.
Mental Notes Beyond Words
The project is led by a group of diverse creative artists who have come together to deliver Mental Notes. The project aims to raise awareness of mental health issues within the Butetown area and encourage open discussions through the medium of music, prose and song.
The group includes artists experienced in music and film making, radio, drama research and mentoring. Through these mediums the project aims to encourage participants to speak without shame and present their thoughts, fears aspirations around mental health recovery through artwork which will be presented as an exhibition in Butetown History and Art Centre.
Project Lead Tony Wright says
“By it’s staging in Butetown, an area associated with multi ethnicities and by using multi ethnic casts, teachers, practitioners and people with mental health problems, Mental Notes will include groups that are marginalised and will offer a chance to explore myths and concerns that various groups harbour on the subject of mental health.”
Making Minds Creative Challenge
Making Minds is led by mental health activist Mark Smith. The project will primarily take place in the Rhondda Cynon Taff and will involve up to 15 participants in a range of creative workshops, which will produce outputs such as an exhibition or film that will be disseminated online and in community and health settings.
The central element of the project is the use of a range of evaluation methods to capture whether participants’ feelings, attitudes and perceptions have changed as a result of the project as they explore the complex issues around mental health recovery. The findings will be used to inform a report to better inform health practitioners to improve mental health service provision.
Project Lead Mark Smith says that Creative Challenge will:
“help provide an alternative route to recovery for those affected by mental illness, increase their involvement in the community and to develop a better social structure, by giving them space, time, materials, tools, and support to gain a greater confidence to talk about, and manage, mental illness.”
Changing Faces is a Llanelli based project based around filming interviews with people with mental health problems and show how managing mental illness has impacted upon their work, training and family life.
Jonathan from Changing Faces said:
“I started the project because I suffer from mental health problems and over the last few years thought I was the only one who suffered. I was a victim of discrimination and at the time didn’t feel strong enough to speak up. All these issues also affected my family and caused a considerable strain on our lives.
We’d like to get people talking openly about mental health issues and change people’s perceptions. There always seems to be the perception that sufferers are incapable of achieving anything and are naturally written off.
We’d like to show that that is most definitely not the case!”
The project offers open-to-all music-jamming sessions in pubs, clubs and community centres around Aberystwyth where people will be encouraged to talk about mental health issues.
Y Babell Goch
Y Pabell Goch is a new Ceredigion based experiential women's empowerment training programme, which offers training to 18 women from mid-Wales to return to their communities to set up women's empowerment groups along similar lines.
Mental health is still an area of life that people are frightened of and this causes stigmatisation and judgement. By offering spaces where women can talk freely and have their experiences heard and accepted, Y Babell Goch is taking a valuable step in challenging this entrenched discrimination.
Jenny Smith co-ordinator of Y Babell Goch said:
“Supportive groups can help breakdown experiences of isolation and self-doubt. It's easy to imagine that you are alone with what you are going through but all women face challenges at certain times and through coming together we can support each other to grow stronger and bring a much needed challenge to the extremely common experiences of mental distress.”
Meddwl am ddrama
Meddwl am Ddrama is a Welsh language project which aims to get people together to write a new drama about mental health, which would then be staged in Gwynedd later on this year.
"The idea is that we can use people’s real life experiences to create a drama which will, hopefully, say something very important about mental health in today's society" says Aled G Jôb, Time to Change Wales Champion and project leader.
"Each of us who has experienced these conditions has our own personal story to tell, and there is a great deal of research which shows that sharing experiences with others and writing about those experiences can be a very beneficial process. Hopefully, the finished drama can emphasise the point that mental health problems aren't something that happens to someone else and that, in reality, mental health is very important to us all".
For futher information about these projects, to find out how you can get involved or for press enquiries, please contact us.