Lessening stigma around mental health was, and still is, such an important aspect of my life. As a young teenager, my life was chaotic and I was continuously stigmatised by my peers, friends and family. So I knew first-hand the damage that could be done as a result of stigma, and how stifling it can be.
Having lived experience of mental health issues and been on the receiving end of mental health discrimination in the workplace (historical employer), I became a Time to Change Employee Champion when temporarily working for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as a Mental Health Community Partner.
On leaving the DWP I wanted to continue to champion mental health in the community: becoming a Time to Change Champion and a Pets As Therapy volunteer was a way to achieve this.
I joined Time to Change as a Champion in March so I’ve only experienced attending and running events virtually! One of the first events I attended was a poetry slam run by Champions in Birmingham Hub. This was a monthly online event and, after joining initially as a guest, I was then asked if I would host it.
Some of the most unexpected conversations I’ve had about mental health have been the most powerful ones. In my experience, talking to an acquaintance, or even a stranger, can have a big impact on your mindset.
It’s always good to sometimes sit and think back to times when someone has helped you in whatever way. This could be if you’ve broken down and someone stops for you, or you need directions as you’re in a place unfamiliar.