September 17, 2013

As many of you may know, Brighton Village was held on Saturday 3rd August 2013. When I am home for the summer, Brighton is just over an hour on the train away so I knew I had to go this year. I have been a huge supporter of Time to Change for a long time now and am a registered Champion. I applied for a volunteering position with them at the beginning of June. Luckily I got a place to volunteer at Brighton Village as one of their 'villagers' who are people that during events, spread the word about mental health and the need to talk about it more openly.

Talking about mental health has always been a fear of mine

I have done a lot of volunteering in my past but although this is the case, talking about mental health in person has always been a fear of mine. I quickly realised that maybe this is because of the stigma surrounding this huge area and knew I HAD to speak out about my experiences. This was the perfect chance to talk too since it was at an event I would feel incredibly comfortable to be myself in.

It is a double stigma to cope with a mental health condition and identify as LGBT

1 in 4 people have a mental health issue and lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender identifying individuals are 40% more likely to have a mental health condition than their heterosexual peers and two times more likely to have tried to commit suicide. It is a double stigma to cope with a mental health condition and identify as LGBT. These are huge reasons for me as to why providing support as LGBT Officer for Trinity St David Student Union, Swansea 2013-2014 and having stronger links with the university counsellors and the local charities are a huge part of my plan for this year. This event was again the perfect opportunity to gain some skills and contacts on how to do this.

When the day finally arrived I was assigned the morning shift and my anxiety levels were extremely high. I was nervous, shy and absolutely terrified of what was to come. No matter what people said, I could not calm down but I pushed through because I knew even if my story helped just one person that day, it would be worth it.

I very quickly lost count of the amount of people I spoke to but even now there are two girls that stick in my mind. The way they explained their stories together not only helped them (I hope) but truly inspired me and gave me hope. Thank you to you both if you ever read this!

I was absolutely buzzing with the excitement of the day

I ended up staying the entire day and even by the end, I was absolutely buzzing with the excitement of the day. I did not want to leave. I decorated cupcakes, I made my pledge to raise more awareness, and spoke to so many people of all ages. I enjoyed the day so much and while speaking to one of the volunteer coordinators, I found out about Time to Change Wales. I am definitely hoping to get more involved with this in the upcoming year while at University.

Also, check out the local charity that Time to Change were working with on the day: Mind Out.

But for now, it is your Time to Talk and their websites are full of tips on how to start conversations about mental health.

Thank you so so much to Time To Change and Mind Out for being such incredibly kind and supportive people on the day. I look forward to working with you more in both England and Wales. Thank you to all the members of the public I spoke to and all my fellow volunteers. You were all so amazing to me and I’m so thankful!

Have a great day and keep smiling.


Want to find out more about the Village events that have been taking place this summer?

Take a look at some of the photos from the events.

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What are Time to Change Champions?

Time to Change Champions are people with lived experience of mental health problems (including carers) who campaign to end mental health discrimination in their communities.

Sign up to become a Time to Change Champion and raise awareness by speaking out about your experiences at events and anti-stigma projects.

Share your story

Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.