We all have mental health in the same way as we all have physical health, and just like our physical health, we can have days where we feel mentally healthy and others where we may not feel mentally well. When we begin to feel mentally unwell on a more regular basis, we may visit our GP and get a diagnosis of a mental illness - we may experience weeks of feeling sad, having a low mood, being very teary and/or constantly worried.
People who experience mental illness often face stigma and discrimination in the workplace, socially and within families. This can make life with a mental health problem more difficult than the symptoms themselves. Time to Change Wales wants to improve knowledge and understanding about mental illness and, most importantly of all, get people talking about mental health. If you are interested in normalising conversations about mental health, you can help us to achieve this by joining Time to Change Wales as a Champion!
Working with our partner organisation, EYST Wales, our aim at Time to Change Wales is to end mental health stigma in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and those living in areas of poverty and deprivation in Wales. The campaign is delivered by a partnership of two leading Welsh mental health charities, Adferiad Recovery and Mind Cymru and is funded by Welsh Government.
What do Champions do?
Champions are volunteers with experience of living with a mental health problem or of supporting someone. They help challenge stigma by sharing their thoughts and experiences which helps improve people’s knowledge, bust common myths about mental illness and show other’s that “it’s okay not to be okay” and that “it’s okay to talk”.
Our Champions share their stories about living with a mental illness whilst challenging stigma in a number of ways, such as writing blogs (which can be anonymous to protect identity). Champions can choose to be anonymous and share their story without fear of being judged by people they might know. Champions can also choose to talk more generally about stigma if they don’t want to talk about personal experiences. You can read some of our Champion’s blogs here: Personal Stories | Time to Change Wales.
Champions also help by sharing TtCW content on social media, delivering anti-stigma presentations or taking part media interviews – there is something for everyone depending on what they are most comfortable with! Champions either speak about their own experiences, or something they have witnessed more generally if this is more comfortable.
What is the commitment?
Apart from joining an initial training session, there is no minimum number of hours that we expect from our Champions. Some help out a couple of times a month, some a couple of times a year and some every now and again, when the right opportunity arises. Every contribution is equally valued, as Champions are the very heart of the TtCW campaign!
What does training involve?
Whilst we still cannot meet face-to-face, we have refined our training so that we can deliver it virtually. This interactive training takes place over two consecutive days in two, 2 and a half hour sessions (with a break mid-way!) with the training providing you with:
- An overview of the Time to Change Wales campaign and how you can get involved as a Champion
- Information on mental health stigma and discrimination and how we can challenge it
- A look at our resources and how to use them
- An opportunity to meet one of our established Champions, who will share their story with you and be on hand to answer any questions you might have about volunteering
- Guidance on how to write a blog or film vlogs for our website and social media
- An introduction to delivering anti-stigma presentations*
* Champions who wish to deliver anti-stigma presentations will be offered a further day's training, once we are able to meet face-to-face. This will be for Champions who wish to deliver talks to businesses and organisations to share their own story of stigma and discrimination.
Our next set of training dates will be on Thursday 20th January with a morning session between 9:30am - 12pm and afternoon session between 1pm - 3pm. The training is free and will be delivered via Zoom. Please get in touch with the Time to Change Wales team if you would like to attend or find out more about the campaign at: firstname.lastname@example.org