On Friday 3rd August, Myself, Harry Carnaby and Laura Anderson met Shurleea Harding, Chair of the Leigh Time to Change Group in partnership with the University of Essex, who had once again organised another Time To Change public event to challenge mental health stigma which featured stalls promoting the services of South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) the local provider of mental health services.
This was organised by the Leigh Time To Change group, and was the fourth year it has been held, as part of an ongoing national campaign. We popped down to to the mental health market, which was held in the Town Square in Basildon, near Boots, where there were a number of stalls covering all aspects of mental health wellbeing. Unfortunately, we wasn’t there for the official opening, which was opened by SEPT Chief Executive, Dr. Patrick Geoghegan.
While Myself, Harry and Laura were there, we went to over 50 different staffed stalls, that provided a range of advice on wellbeing and mental health, and found out what local support was available. There was also a range of entertainers giving ideas on how to keep fit, improve our mental health wellbeing, but also to have fun at the same time. There were also wheelchair dancers, belly dancing and hoopers, which the public also took part in.
Laura spoke to Kellie Pearson, from People In Partnership, who are a Domiciliary Care agency covering Southend, Rochford, Castle Point, Basildon and Thurrock, and specialise in supporting individuals with learning disabilities from age 13 plus onwards. They are flexible, dilligent, passionate and strive to achieve the best, and realise there is much room for improvement in the care sector to give people more opportunities and choices:
[audio:http://www.gateway978.com/www2/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Interview-with-Kellie-Pearson.mp3|titles=People In Partnership – Interview With Kellie Pearson] [nggallery id=102] In addition to challenging stigma, the Time To Change event is a reminder that physical activity is very important to feeling mentally well. Mental ill health carries as much risk of heart disease as smoking, and exercise helps to combat this and also reduces stress levels.
68% of people say that they know ‘someone close to them’ who has a mental illness – another indicator of how widespread it is and how little is spoken about it; so this event was about raising the issue, reminding people that the ‘extra mile’ is listening without judging, being there for them and encouraging them to get help – self help and as appropriate support from the NHS.
We also spoke to Shurleea Harding, the organiser of the Leigh Time To Change Group, and this is what she had to say:
“This is the fourth Time To Change event that I have been involved with and is the biggest and best yet with street entertainment for the crowds as well as a range of stalls providing advice about maintaining a health mind and the importance of exercise as part of an overall health lifestyle which can be effective as anti-depressants in treating mild to moderate depression”.
Laura askes Shurleea some more questions:
[audio:http://www.gateway978.com/www2/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Interview-with-Shurleea-Harding.mp3|titles=Time To Change – Interview with Shurleea Harding]
Time To Change is England’s most ambitious programme to end discrimination faced by people who experience mental health problems. Their vision is to make lives better for everyone by ending mental health discrimination, with their mission to inspire people to work together to end the discrimination surrounding mental health.
The programme of 35 projects is led by Mind, and Rethink (Mental Health Media have now merged to become part of Mind). It is funded with £16m from the Big Lottery Fund and £4m from Comic Relief, and evacuated by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London. The programme is backed by international evidence on what works, and has at its heart, people with direct experience of mental health problems.
With an annual turnover of approximately £300m, South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) is one of the most successful Foundation Trusts in the country providing integrated care including mental health, learning disability, social care and community services. They provide services across Bedfordshire, Essex and Luton, employ approximately 6,100 people and serve a population of 1.8 million.
They work with a wide range of partner organisations to deliver care and support to people in their own homes, and from a number of hospital and community based premises. They have many modern community based resource centres and clinics, to provide local services to local people where possible.
For more information visit www.time-to-change.org.uk
Published by Jack Sullivan, 7:29pm Friday 4th August 2012