Champion the Change
What is Champion the Change?
Champion the Change Buckinghamshire is a partnership of local organisations and people who are committed to ending mental health stigma and discrimination and create hope for those affected by mental illness.
By transforming misplaced attitudes and increasing understanding of mental health, we can tackle the unnecessary barriers those living with mental health conditions can face all too often.
At the heart of our campaign are our volunteers, called Champions, who have lived experience of mental illness and stigma. They use their voices, experiences and passion to help end negative attitudes and behaviours to those suffering with mental illness.
After government funding for the national Time to Change campaign sadly ended in March 2021, Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire Mind are delighted to launch the new local anti-stigma campaign Champion the Change Bucks in June 2021.
The Buckinghamshire partnership, which was formerly called Time to Change Bucks, was established in April 2018 and is hosted by the Buckinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Board with Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire Mind.
Why do we need to end mental health stigma?
Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, made worse by the impact of experiencing stigma and discrimination. For many people, stigma causes them to feel ashamed, isolated and as if they are to blame for their symptoms.
The effects of facing judgement from others and being treated differently due to an illness are far reaching and often prevent people seeking the help and support they need to start the journey towards recovery.
How to help end Stigma and Discrimination
The most effective way to end mental health stigma and discrimination is to tackle negative judgements through increasing awareness and education.
Become a Champion
If you have lived experience of mental health and you would like to get involved with ending mental health stigma, you could consider becoming a Champion. We welcome anybody who would like to be a Champion, giving as much or as little time as you like.
Our team of volunteers get involved in many different ways, from hosting events to sharing our social media posts to committing to having conversations with friends and family about mental health.
Here are some ways you could get involved as a Champion:
- Organising small community activities
- Sharing their stories on our social media or website
- Help us reach more people in our community by creating resources for schools, workplaces and sports clubs
Bucks Big Chat Awareness Days
Another way to get involved to help end mental health stigma is to join in with our awareness days, called Bucks Big Chat. It’s a call to action to our community to continue conversation about mental health helping breakdown stigma in varied and creative ways. Click here for more information.
We are calling upon all businesses across Buckinghamshire to commit to changing the way we think and act about mental health in the work place by signing-up to our Employer’s Pledge. To find out more, please click here.
Culture related stigma is a major barrier which can stop people speaking out about their mental health challenges and seeking help when they need it.
Our wonderful Champions Esther, Victor and Cherechukwu create films and programs, alongside their team, aimed at people in the BAME community to target the culture related stigma attached to mental health and try to challenge them within their community. Such challenges include mental health being a taboo subject to talk about and depression often being seen as not an illness but a character trait of laziness.
They hope by using the voices of people with lived experience of mental health stigma, they can raise awareness and help to make everybody who has mental health symptoms feel empowered and able to ask for help.
Their short film called Behind the Mirror, illustrates how the main character Sylvia feels she has to hide her mental health symptoms and her real self, due to the fear of stigma. But Sylvia meets an artist who uses his creations to open up conversation about suffering and mental health which gives Sylvia hope. To view the film, please click here.
Champion the Change Champion Michelle shares her experience of mental health problems, discusses mental health wellbeing in the workplace and suggests how you can be in your colleague’s corner. Please click on the video below to view.
***Please be aware this video discusses content you may find triggering regarding mental health. You may choose to avoid watching this if you’re experiencing a period of poor mental health or ensure you have support available.***