Richmond Fellowship Volunteer Coodinator Alison Walker tackling mental health stigma

Charity marks year of conversations tackling mental health stigma

Richmond Fellowship is marking over 1,000 conversations tackling mental health stigma in a year with an afternoon of music and entertainment in Dorset.

Richmond Fellowship, the national charity making mental health recovery a reality, teamed up with Time to Change to launch the ‘Face 2 Face’ project in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole last year.

Since then the mental health charity has smashed its target of having 1,000 conversations about mental health and is holding ‘Face 2 Face Fest’, an afternoon of music, culture and arts in Poole to celebrate.

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Face-2-Face-Dorset-chats

Face 2 Face is going for one thousand chats by Christmas!

The innovative Face 2 Face project, funded by ‘Time to Change’ to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole, is pulling out all the stops to make contact with its one thousandth member of the public before Christmas Day.

Face 2 Face is calling on the public to get involved to end mental health stigma and discrimination and has been running a number of pop-up shops for people to visit where the team has been offering free drop-in arts activities and encouraging people to make their own Christmas decorations.

Face 2 Face provides arts-based activities that bring people without a mental health problem into social contact with those who do. Evidence suggests that this kind of contact is one of the most effective ways of breaking down stigma and discrimination suffered by those experiencing a mental health problem.Over the past seven months the Face 2 Face team has been tackling discrimination by having meaningful and open conversations with members of the public. So far the team has reached 875 people.

Spokesman Doug Low said: “The volunteers are doing a fantastic job at talking to people in our community and helping transform the way they see mental health problems. Just a few small words can make a big difference to someone with a mental health problem. Talking about the issue can really help to break down stigma and discrimination. We hope to get to a 1,000 conversations very soon!”

The Face 2 Face project is managed by Richmond Fellowship in partnership with community interest company ZooFish Arts and the Borough of Poole Arts Service.For more information about the project or to enquire about becoming a Face 2 Face volunteer please contact Doug Low on 07786 191192 or email: doug.low@richmondfellowship.org.uk

Richmond Fellowship signs up to Time to Change mental health anti-stigma pledge

Richmond Fellowship has joined the growing number of organisations committing to end the stigma and discrimination against people with experience of mental health problems by signing a pledge with national campaign Time to Change.

The pledge-signing ceremony took place at our annual national managers conference this week, where our chief executive and chair pledged our support to ‘Time to Change’, committing us to promoting a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and welfare advice to our staff and people who use our services.

Richmond Fellowship, one of the largest voluntary sector providers of mental health services across England, has been championing recovery and social inclusion for more than 50 years.

Chief executive Derek Caren said: “We’re working towards a society that values everyone with mental health problems. By signing the Time to Change pledge, we demonstrate our commitment to champion this vision amongst our own staff, the people who use our services and the wider community.”

Richmond Fellowship joins the wide movement of organisations that have signed up to the Time to Change pledge, including British Gas, Ernst & Young, BT, Transport for London, Citizen’s Advice, Channel 4 and many NHS trusts, universities, and local authorities.

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: “It’s fantastic that more and more organisations are showing their support in tackling the stigma experienced by people with mental health problems. Employers and their staff can all play a part in helping to stamp out stigma and organisations like Richmond Fellowship are taking a lead.”

Time to Change is England’s biggest anti-stigma programme led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and funded by the Department of Health and Comic Relief. Set up to create a positive shift in public attitudes towards mental health problems, Time to Change promotes better understanding to combat discrimination towards people who experience mental health problems.