Southampton and Portsmouth awarded funding to tackle mental health stigma

Portsmouth and Southampton have been selected as one of eight areas in England to tackle mental health stigma locally after winning a bid to become one of 2019’s Time to Change Hubs.

Time to Change Southampton & Portsmouth will work to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. It is an exciting partnership between Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils, local mental health charity Solent Mind and local people who are Time to Change Champions.  The Hub will support communities, workplaces and schools to end negative attitudes and behaviours towards people experiencing mental health problems in their communities.

Anna Fiers, a local Time to Change Champion, says, “I am thrilled at the news. As a Time to Change Champion, having access to the Hub will make it easier for me to connect with other champions, organise events and work together on voicing our important message.”

Each funded Hub is provided with £15,000 start-up budget along with £10,000 for a Champions Fund where local champions can bid for funding to run stigma-busting events and activities within their area.

Kevin Gardner, Solent Mind CEO, says, “I am delighted that Solent Mind is working in partnership with Southampton and Portsmouth City Councils to bring a Time to Change Hub to our area. This is a wonderful opportunity to achieve genuine change around how we think and talk about mental health. We will be harnessing the power of people’s personal experiences to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination.”

Councillor David Shields, Cabinet Member for Health and Community Wellbeing, Southampton City Council, said, “This is great news for our city. Being a Time to Change Hub will enable us to build on the good work taking place at the council and in our communities, and particularly, in ensuring that those with lived experience can use their skills and talents to lead local action on tackling mental health stigma. Mental health issues affect one in four of us, and touches many of us throughout our lives. That’s why we need to engage with all sections of society — families,  businesses, education establishments, public services, community organisations, unions and faith groups – to address stigma and discrimination ‎in our city.

“Southampton City Council has demonstrated a strong commitment to tackling mental health stigma for a number of years, including our support of Time to Talk Day and signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge last year, to address mental health issues in the workplace.”

Councillor Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at Portsmouth City Council, said, “I’m thrilled that Portsmouth and Southampton have jointly been chosen to become a Time to Change Hub. There is still a lot of misunderstanding and stigma around mental health and it’s an issue that I’m passionate about. Through becoming a Time to Change Hub we’ve got a real opportunity to get people across the city talking about mental health, and in doing so positively change how people think and act around it.

“To further demonstrate our commitment to supporting people with their mental health I’m pleased to be taking on the role of Mental Health & Wellbeing Champion within the council and am looking forward to this being one of many projects we’re involved in to make it easier for people in the city to look after their mental health and wellbeing.”

Time to Change, the national campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, launched its first regional Hubs in March 2017.

The announcement of eight further funded Hubs, including Portsmouth and Southampton, is part of the campaign’s three year plan to establish a network across England to provide a focus for local campaigning work.