County Durham has been selected as one of eight new national hubs to receive funding to tackle mental health stigma.
The county will become a 2019 Time to Change funded Hub, with the aim of helping change the way people think and act about mental health problems.
The granting of the status, by national mental health campaign Time to Change, follows the success of an application by Investing in Children (IiC) and Durham County Council, supported by local NHS bodies and voluntary and community sector organisations.
County Durham is already one of approximately 30 ‘organic’ Time to Change Hubs across the country, but has been chosen with seven other areas to join 13 existing funded Hubs.
Time to Change Durham will be provided with £15,000 start-up budget along with £10,000 for a Champions Fund. This allows local ‘champions’ to bid for funding to run stigma-busting events and activities within their area.
It will be co-ordinated by IiC – a children’s human rights organisation in partnership with the council and the voluntary and community sector organisations which supported the application. These are Waddington Street Mental Health Resource Centre, Home Group, Wellbeing for Life, Alzheimer’s Society, Durham County Carers Support, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, North of England Commissioning Support, and local champions.
The Hub will combine the insights of the national Time to Change campaign with local knowledge. It will support communities, workplaces and schools to take action to end negative attitudes and behaviours towards people experiencing mental health problems in their communities.
Chris Affleck, Hub coordinator from IiC, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for County Durham to build on the great work that has been achieved so far as a Time to Change organic Hub.
“Through the work of our partnership anti-stigma group ‘Stamp It Out’ we can continue to develop our engaging tool kit.
“We will be working to empower and enable marginalised and vulnerable communities to deliver their own projects with financial support through the Champions Fund. We look forward to taking this work to the next level and the opportunity to work in partnership with Time to Change.”
Cllr Lucy Hovvels, the council’s mental health champion and Cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “We are committed to ensuring people with mental health needs feel understood and supported in County Durham.
“In October, we signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge and we are delighted that County Durham has been selected as one of the new Time to Change Hubs. By working with our partners and the communities we serve, we can help to end mental health discrimination and build upon positive work already underway to support people in need.”
Karen Ray, chair of Stamp It Out and a ‘champion,’ said: “Champions are looking forward to supporting the Time to Change Hub through a programme of social contact and other local campaigning activities; building on what has been achieved so far with partners of the ‘Stamp It Out’ group.
“Lived experience leadership will support the partnership through the champions campaigners group who have provided and taken forward some great ideas to date and also through the trustees, all of whom are champions.”
Jo Loughran, director at Time to Change, said: “When one in four of us will fight a mental health problem in any given year and suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 40, it’s vital that we come together to end mental health stigma. Our network of Time to Change Hubs are able to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination in their community.”
Time to Change, run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, launched its first regional Hubs in March 2017.
The announcement of the eight new locations 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.
Since their initial launch, Time to Change Hubs have successfully campaigned to end mental health stigma and discrimination. Their work has ranged from stopping a stigmatising theatre show ‘Psycho Asylum’ from touring the country to supporting Time to Talk Day (7 February 2019), running events and delivering campaigns aimed at improving understanding and respect for people living with a mental health problem.
To find out more about Time to Change Durham visit @StampOutStigmaInDurham on Facebook, @_StampItOut on Twitter or contact Hub coordinator Chris Affleck [email protected]