Time to Change has changed my life so much and in such a positive way. It all started in March 2012 when I heard about the campaign. Time to Change was holding an event at on the Southbank in London. I decided I wanted to find out more as I had experienced mental illness from a young age and never received the right amount of support. This affected me to the point where I struggled through school and in my first couple of jobs due to my issues. Also both my mother and grandmother have suffered from mental illness. My mother died when I was one year old and it has been stated that she had mental illness including post natal depression.
When I was 23 I became fed up of being isolated and treated like a freak. I decided there must be support out there and went onto the Mind website which connected me to the Time to Change campaign.
It was my first big test to go to the training session
The first Time to Change event that I attended was in London and it was my first big test to go to the training session a few days beforehand on my own. I had never done anything like this alone. I wouldn’t even walk to the town on my own but I did it. At the training day I met some people who would be volunteering with me that Saturday and one lady called Nikki. She told me all about the campaign and after speaking to the other volunteers I realised I wasn’t on my own and that other people had experienced or are still experiencing from what I had also been going through. Finally I wasn’t alone.
The event was a bit of a blur of anxiety and happiness
The Southbank event was brilliant, it was a bit of a blur of anxiety and happiness. I met so many people and started talking to members of the public about the campaign and why it is so important to speak about mental illness.
Time to Change Village events are made up of tents for the public to come and have a look around and learn about the campaign. The tents include a surgery, a post office, a cinema and at times a human library. The village travels to all parts of the country such as Leeds, Brighton, Cambridge and various parts of London.
Approaching members of the public at first was quite nerve racking
Approaching members of the public at first was quite nerve racking as I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to say and if I would be able to explain the campaign in a good enough way that they would listen and understand. Throughout the day I had some really excellent conversations and my confidence grew and so did my ability to approach people.
As part of International Nurses Day 2014 I went to Greenwich University with Time to Change to speak to students about the campaign. I spoke to many people but one woman came back to me and thanked me for what I had told her and said that she felt more positive about the future and was grateful to Time to Change for attending.
The campaign brings people together from all walks of life
The campaign brings people together from all walks of life that have either themselves experienced a mental illness or have had a loved one experience it.
So far I have volunteered for 10 events over two years. I fit in volunteering with my shifts at work and am slowly starting to speak out about my own issues. I have managed to build my confidence in travelling to places on my own. The furthest place I have travelled to for Time to Change is Brighton. Also I am now able to stand up in front of a large group of people and speak about mental illness.
Volunteering for Time to Change has changed my life
Volunteering for Time to Change has changed my life I have made so many new friends, learnt about different cultures, stereotypes and discrimination. The campaign has changed my own preconceptions of people, taught me to be more caring and to stand up for not only my rights but that of others as well. The campaign deserves to win the Lottery Good Causes Award as they have changed me and others I know into a happier stronger person who wants to end mental health discrimination.