Live dramas, mental health champions, specialist training and Pledge ‘Wall’ head up Surrey’s campaign to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination.

Reflecting the national project Time To Change which has been combating mental health stigma over the last five years, Time To Change – Surrey (TTC-S) is the local campaign raising awareness of mental health in general and highlighting the stigma experienced by nine out of ten people who suffer a mental illness.

Surrey County Council (SCC) initiated a pilot in 2013/14 and now, with Surrey NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups* (CCG), are backing the rollout of the campaign countywide. Voluntary sector partner, Let’s Link mental wellbeing charity, has been appointed to coordinate the campaign rollout over the coming months.

Events and activities that target health and social care organisations including GP surgeries, communities, education, employers and the general public are underway and include:

  • Mental Health Champion Schemes: in each of the six Clinical Commissioning Group areas in Surrey groups of volunteers who have lived experience of mental ill health are coming together to form a local ‘voice’ for the TTC-S campaign. They are visiting councils, businesses, GP surgeries. They organise, with support, special events, using a range of ways to engage with staff such as cake (always a winner), mood cards, and incorporating some of their own life stories and experiences to promote and deliver key messages about mental health and how stigma creates misunderstanding and negative views. Trainer Jeannie Satchell and Megan Aspel are developing and supporting the groups. World Mental Health week (6-10 October ’14) will see a series of special events taking place across Surrey.
  • Two powerful and hard-hitting dramas created and performed by Acting Out Productions: ‘Flashpoint’ and ‘Breaking Point’ are two short plays performed by mental health training and learning provider, Acting Out Productions, led by actors and writers Louisa Lawrenson and Jeremy Beckman. The cast of professional actors bring alive true stories to show the impact of mental ill health on individuals and those around them. Aimed at Surrey based companies, business organisations, statutory and voluntary sector, recent audiences have included Surrey Police, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, representatives of other Surrey councils, East Surrey College, members, directors and staff of Surrey County Council, directors, managers and clinical staff from Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, NHS commissioners and the voluntary sector. The plays are being performed in each CCG area and are by invitation. Please see note to editors below.
  • Mental Health Awareness and Workforce mental health training provided by First Steps and ESRA: open to anyone with an interest in mental health, the First Steps course provides an engaging, interactive and safe forum to learn about mental health and look at ways of promoting good emotional health for both staff and clients. ESRA (Employment Support Retraining Agency) are delivering Mental Health First Aid England ‘Lite’ sessions aimed at improving mental health awareness in the workplace. Dates and venues below.
  • Pledge ‘Wall’: pledges are a way for people to sign up to our campaign, and to the national Time To Change, to tackle mental health stigma. We are ‘building’ a tough paper ‘wall’ that will form a decorative, imaginative and colourful backdrop that might include designs, doodles, writing, graffiti and poetry created by groups of people who live with mental ill health, supported by painter, conservationist and Surrey resident Juliette Shears. We are also inviting colleges and art schools to be involved. ‘Pledge Bricks’ will be given to organisations and businesses and they will be asked to write a pledge to tackle stigma. The ‘bricks’ will be placed in the decorated sections and In March 2015 there will be a special event to put all the sections together and create our ‘Pledge Wall’ to celebrate the Time To Change-Surrey campaign.

The campaign roll-out was launched to over 60 key people and representatives from health and social care commissioning and provision, Surrey County Council cabinet members and directors, CCGs, private healthcare and the voluntary sector.

Dave Sergeant, Interim Strategic Director for Adult Social Care, said: "Today most people with mental health problems are supported by community services enabling people to remain with their families, friends and live in their communities. However, this week I was reminded of the challenge of doing this effectively when I attended the launch of the roll out of the Time to Change – Surrey, following the successful pilot in Merstham and Redhill last year.

“The audience saw a hard-hitting play illustrating 'Nick’s' decline into despair after losing his job. This was a thought provoking production challenging our fears and prejudices when someone we live or work with starts to behave in a way we don’t understand. Research shows that nearly 9 out of 10 people with mental health issues have experienced stigma and discrimination.


"It occurred to me during the play that Time to Change - Surrey is not only challenging our view of, and attitude to, people experiencing mental distress but it is also a challenge to us to find more time in our busy lives to listen in order to understand what help and support would make a difference. 

"The Time To Change-Surrey programme is rolling out a series of productions across the rest of Surrey this year in partnership with the Clinical Commissioning Groups, Public Health and Let’s Link and I do hope you will take the opportunity to attend.”

Time To Change - Surrey:

http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/adult-social-care/adults-with-mental-health-needs/time-to-change-surrey

Acting Out Productions -   http://www.actingoutproductions.co.uk

Let’s Link – www.letslinkmentalwellbeing.com

*The six Clinical Commissioning Groups for Surrey are: North East Hampshire and Farnham, Surrey Heath, Guildford and Waverley, Surrey Downs, North West Surrey and East Surrey.

What is a CCG?

A clinical commissioning group is an NHS organisation set up by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to organise the delivery of NHS services in England.  It is clinically led by GPs and clinical staff who work with patients and are best placed to make decisions about local healthcare commissioning.   Find out more about the CCG

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