Time To Change 10 Year Anniversary

Ten years ago I was 15, I didn’t know what anxiety was, I didn’t think I could get depression and I was constantly hearing suicide was selfish. Ten years on I’m recovering from depression, managing anxiety and have diagnosed ADHD. Over a year ago, I was lucky enough to attend two days of training in London with a charity called Time To Change, where I, along with 80 other young people learnt about mental health, stigma and how to share our stories.

On the eve of World Mental Health Day, I was honoured to attend an evening reception at The Department of Health in London to celebrate Time To Change and all the work that has been done in its name to improve attitudes around mental health. We were lucky to hear from both directors of Time To Change and a handful of outstanding champions who have been sharing their stories in recent years.

It was a wonderful opportunity to share successes and celebrate our work. It was a great moment to reflect on the evidence that proves that sharing facts and telling stories of lived experience has helped shift public perceptions of mental health. Whilst it was nice to celebrate, we still have so much to do, there is still a lot of stigma and misconceptions around mental health that need to be set straight. I have real hope backed with evidence that things will continue to change.

Fittingly, on World Mental Health Day, I was back out in the community with fellow Time To Change champions speaking at a University and School on Merseyside with Tackling The Blues sharing facts and stories about mental health and how to look after yourself and your mates. It was great to see what we celebrated the night before in action again, people young and old actively listening, getting involved and sharing their own experiences around the topic of mental health.

© 2017 James Woods