Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. – Muhammad Ali
As I’ve explored numerous times before on my website, volunteering and campaigning around mental health has been an integral part of my life for just over 12 months now. The opportunities and experiences I’ve created and been given me have been hugely invaluable to my own wellbeing, development and job prospects, therefore for today’s post I wanted to share my thoughts on a recent event I attended as part of my role as a Time to Change champion. An extremely proud TTC champion, might I add.
Let’s begin by rewinding 12 months. The time is June 2018. I’ve been an official TTC champion for a mere 3 months. I’m still getting to grips with my role and finding out how to campaign properly. Time to Change may be a national movement with the purpose of ending mental health stigma and discrimination, nonetheless there are now over 40 hubs situated across all corners of the country. My local hub is Blackpool. Just a stone’s throw away- a perfect opportunity to make a difference in my community.
As recognition for all the work I’d done in such a short space of time, I was invited to give a joint presentation at my first major event in Newcastle. The first ever Time to Change Hubs Networking Event. Staff and champions from all across the north were there to share ideas, expertise and experiences.
As petrified as I was holding a microphone and delivering a presentation to a room full of people, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Particularly with it being the first talk I’d done, I’ll always have fond memories. That day was a breakthrough moment for myself personally, as well as campaigning.
Following on from the success of the previous year, this year’s event took place at ‘the studio’ on the 10th of June in Leeds. The attendance once again was fantastic- probably more so than I anticipated- and it was refreshing to see many old faces and plenty of great new ones too. After a short introduction by Time to Change director Jo Loughran, we were divided into two workshops, of two different topics.
Having been gratefully asked to present like in the previous year, alongside a fellow champion and our local coordinator, I was able to talk about my own experiences of mental health problems and delve deeper into my recent campaigning endeavors. The open mic night which I organised during MHAW was a key focus, and it was fantastic to receive such feedback and plaudits for something I’d really worked hard on. Most importantly, the platform on which I could share such stories gave the other people listening to it something to learn from. A real-life example of what works well, what doesn’t, what to avoid and the various ways I could improve to make the event better.
Especially for those who hadn’t run events before, they were keen to ask questions and gain some sort of insight into how to transfer these lessons into their own areas. That’s the beauty of networking. We are so much stronger and more powerful when working together!
One of my favourite sessions of the day was a question and answer activity. Each table was given 11 campaign based questions on small pieces of paper- of which three we had to answer- then we had to share our thoughts on post-it notes placed on a wall in the corner of the room. From this particular activity, we were able to gain lots of new knowledge, consider the various aspects of campaigning and uncover how better we could approach things in the future. The day as a whole, from hearing people’s stories, meeting new people and gathering resources, was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, however I enjoyed delivering a presentation and this session the most. I already can’t wait for next year!
If you are interested in becoming a TTC champion, campaigning with your local hub and potentially being involved with fantastic events and opportunities such as this, sign up via the link added below. Once you started you won’t be able to stop, I can assure you that! It’s your chance to make a difference- what are you waiting for?
Thanks for reading,