A Kingston social movement group is pushing people to speak up about mental health on a national mental health awareness day organised by a national campaign on Thursday.
The Time to Time Change (TTC) Kingston Hub, part of the national Time to Change Campaign that aims to change how people think and act about mental health problems, will hold a series of events on Time to Talk Day this Thursday.
Time to Change Kingston is the second funded hub in London and is hosted by the Royal Borough of Kingston Council and co-ordinated by Healthwatch Kingston but in March, Mind in Kingston will take over this coordination.
Persephone Pickering, 28, Time to Change Kingston hub co-ordinator since 2019 said: “You don’t have to be an expert to help a friend or loved one in need.
“You can make a big difference by just being there and listening.”
This year’s Time to Talk Day theme is the power of small.
All of the TTC Kingston hub’s activities are driven by their Kingston Champions who all have lived experiences of mental health issues and use their own experiences to change how others think and act about mental health.
To go with the theme, the TTC Kingston Champions have decided to host an event called Small Things That Go a Long Way where five of them will share small things that others have done that have gone a long way in helping them in their recovery.
The champions have also created an online living library where you can borrow a person to speak to about their lived experience rather than borrowing a book by hearing audio recordings on various mental health topics from their personal experiences and live Zoom events.
Stigma, negative attitudes and stereotypes surrounding mental health issues can stop people from talking about their issues.
Miss Pickering said “No one should have to fear being treated differently because of a mental health problem.”
The TTC Kingston Champions have organised several events such as Sarah Hollebon, fashion designer and mental health activist, who has made an online immersive exhibition to widen the conversation around mental health and challenge stigma and discrimination through her sculptured garments.
She said: “Being involved in TTCK events have given me the confidence I needed to begin publicly speaking about my mental health experiences.
“Since joining as a champion, I really feel like I have found my tribe where I can be my true authentic self.”
Miss Pickering explained that TTC Kingston try to make all of their events and activities appealing to people who do not necessarily understand mental health by having a hook to engage people with certain interests for example.
More information and details can be found at https://www.healthwatchkingston.org.uk/time-change-kingston.