WORCESTERSHIRE has been chosen as one of just four areas in England to take part in a project to tackle how we all think and act about mental health locally.
The county has been picked to be a Time to Change Hub by social movement Time to Change to combine the insights from the national mental health campaign with local knowledge to support communities, workplaces and schools to take action to end negative attitudes and behaviours towards people experiencing mental health problems.
Time to Change Worcestershire is made up of Worcestershire Health and Wellbeing Board, Worcestershire County Council, Community First, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the University of Worcester, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, West Mercia Police, Redditch and Bromsgrove District Councils, Unison, and local champions.
Time to Change, the national campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, launched its first regional hubs in March 2017.
The announcement of four further hubs including Worcestershire, others will be in Waltham Forest, Nottingham, Bristol, is part of the campaign’s three year plan to establish a network of hubs across England to provide a focus for local campaigning work.
Dr Frances Howie, Director of Public Health said: “There is a wealth of excellent work currently taking place across the county to increase awareness of mental health problems and tackle stigma and discrimination and we feel that the hub will substantially build on this.
“We want to create a movement where people feel comfortable talking about mental health problems and don’t feel ashamed accessing the support that they need.
Time to Change champion Laney Walsh added: “As a Time to Change champion for several years I am thrilled to see that Worcestershire has been chosen to be a local hub across the West Midlands.
“As a rural community made up of such a vastly different demography, and across a large geographical area, our communities often miss out to hugely important services in favour of larger cities.
“It is highly important that our communities and wider society are made aware, and given the opportunity from the allocation of the time to change hub.
“It is vital that we encourage each and every business, public service, education facility, voluntary service, and person across our community to become active participants in the breaking down of barriers surrounding mental health illness.
“The hub provides us with the ability and resources to start to channel the energy into dispelling the myth. It’s time to talk because it really is time to change in Worcestershire.”