Good morning to you, how are you?
There has been a change within my life, one that will be causing a transition in the coming months. Since September 2016 I have volunteered with social movement Time to Change as a Young Champion and alumni which has been in operation under Rethink Mental Illness and Mind for over a decade. As of March 2021, Time to Change will no longer be running as funding will no longer be available. Time to Change focused on reducing mental health stigma and discrimination and changing attitudes around mental health. They have interventions in the general public, employment and eventually in schools etc. for children and young people: which is where I was involved.
I remember Time to Change from the Stand-Up Kid days and knew that one day I’d get to talk about my experiences, at 16 I personally felt I had a lot to learn first. So at 21, I saw applications were open and sent mine on that day. I started out still loving the drink, unaware of who I was, still shy and filled with self-stigma. I will finish my time as a confident, outspoken, ambitious and knowledgeable woman. A woman who yes, has mental illness, but that is just one facet of my identity. I found a deep passion for mental health problems and it’s place in society.
I was trained to speak to others across the nation, speak my story of stigma and my experiences with EUPD among other illnesses, what hasn’t been effective and what could help in future. I spoke to my MP at the time and allowed for TTC the opportunity to speak in Parliament. I attended the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit and attended a reception at Downing Street. I have done a lot.
At first, I was so nervous in what I was doing, while I’m a good public speaker this was all very new. After a few long term dips in my mental health, and the team’s overwhelming support I started to feel so much more confident, I ended up wanting to take more on. I enjoyed doing the events, I was even able to join my partner on his events and it was always so wonderful to be able to watch him speak.
The team themselves are visibly passionate about what they do, they all have such vibrant personalities and each bring something unique to TTC. Their own skills and knowledge astound me, I feel I have found good friends in some of them.
But what I will take from my time with this amazing initiative is finding my family, in friends, in my partner whom I met there (I fell for him in the initial training weekend), in the sense of belonging and being allowed to explore what my mental health meant to me, finding great people at the centre of the cause. I will take knowledge of other people’s experiences, of learning what real boundaries represent, a new confidence and being able to challenge injustice. And so much more.
I think TTC represented so much good in this world, and I will be sad when it ends. But I know my activism will continue, I have a few big ideas churning.
All my love,