Funding for innovative projects to tackle mental health discrimination
A comedy extravaganza, African and Caribbean church partnerships in Leeds, a pop-up kitchen table set at Manchester Pride, and a portable tree that will tour over 35 country shows are just some of the ways that local communities will be tackling mental health stigma and discrimination. The projects have been established after receiving Time to Change funding totalling £525,752.
Following on from the first successful grant fund last year, this second round of grants will see 13 creative projects being rolled out by local communities.
All 13 projects will work with a wide range of communities including young people, Black and Minority Ethnic and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities and groups in rural areas. Each of the projects have people with mental health problems in leading positions who will have direct contact with the public to start the kind of conversations that can transform attitudes. Evidence suggests that this kind of social contact is one of the most effective ways of breaking down stigma and discrimination.
Some of the 13 new projects include:
- ‘Laughing for a Change’, which is run by Birmingham’s Women and Theatre in partnership with Birmingham LGBT Trust, Black Country Touring and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust. Participants involved in the project will attend training to develop skills and confidence in stand-up comedy. The participants along with six professional comedians with experience of mental health problems will share their own experiences with the public - using comedy to start conversations about mental health. After the training they will all put their new skills to the test at community comedy nights and open-mic sessions. The project will culminate in a national ‘Laughing for a Change’ tour, visiting venues in the Midlands, London and the South East.
- ‘New View Project’, which is run by Touchstone in partnership with Roscoe Methodist Church, Zimbabwean Fellowship, and Leeds Mind. The Leeds-based project will change attitudes towards African and Caribbean people with mental health problems by working in partnership with black majority churches. People from African and Caribbean communities who have directly experienced mental health problems will be supported to gain the confidence, information and support they need to talk openly about their experiences. Volunteers will lead facilitated, meaningful one-to-one conversations with members of their own churches and communities to challenge myths and preconceptions around the issue. In addition, artists with experience of mental health problems will work with volunteers and congregations to create pieces of art that will challenge stigma. The art work will then be displayed in churches to prompt more open conversations about mental health.
- ‘Can you hear me?’, which is run by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) in partnership with Creative Curve. Set around an installation of participant-designed kitchen tables, the exhibition will be showcased at Manchester Pride and will tell the stories of a diverse range of women with mental health problems, through a series of testimonials and audio work. Visitors will sit at the kitchen tables and talk, opening up communication between those with and those without experience of mental health problems.
- ‘Growing Voices’, which is run by the Carlisle Eden Mind in partnership with Eden Arts. Carlisle Eden Mind and Eden Arts. In total 30 people with personal experience of mental health problems will work alongside local artists and craftsmen to create a large movable tree themed shelter. Once developed the tree will visit over 35 country shows, festivals and other outdoor gatherings, and act as a canopy under which volunteers can chat to the public. Using this creative idea, the Growing Voices project will engage people from rural communities in conversation about mental health.
Janice Connolly from Women and Theatre, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded a Time to Change grant, which will allow us to take our project forward and challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. Through comedy we hope to be able to empower people with experience of mental health problems to write and perform their own original stand up material. ‘Laughing for a Change’ aims to help break down the barriers that surround mental illness and enable some open conversations about people's experiences. We hope that through comedy and laughing together we can help to end the taboo that is debilitating the lives of so many of us out there."
Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: “What works to challenge stigma in one community may not work in the same way in another, so through the grants fund we are putting the power to make change happen into the hands of the experts – the people who know their communities the best.
“All of the projects that have received funding will see people with lived experience of mental health problems taking a lead role and being at the forefront in challenging mental health stigma and discrimination in England.”
The fund is now open for the third round of applications and the deadline for entries is 30 April 2013. These grants will be awarded in July and there will be one further round of funding.
Read the the full list of the projects awarded funding in round two.
For more information, interviews with the projects or case studies please contact Hayley Richardson-Roberts, Time to Change Senior Media Officer, on 0208 2152 358/ 07789 721 966.