Saturday, 13 February 2021

We are Time to Change


Today marked the official end to my journey with Time to Change as a Young Champion. It also, unfortunately, was a goodbye to the campaign itself as it will close down at the end of next month. Endings always make me look back with tears in my eyes and a smile on my lips thinking "fuck I did that." 

I joined the program in September 2018 and thought I could confidently speak about mental health. But I remember on the first training weekend being asked what our telltale signs are that we aren't okay so that the buddy that we were paired up with could keep an eye out. I struggled so much with this simple task, I felt so much shame letting someone know I might not be okay. I realised on that weekend that I could confidently speak about mental health behind a screen but in person, i was still quiet and ashamed. 

Time to Change has given me a voice and the ability to share my story in person. To be able to look someone in the eyes and tell them my story and to be proud of myself. I've shared my story in schools, in youth clubs, in football clubs, through Twitter takeovers, and i can now have very honest conversations about mental health with my friends, family and work colleagues. 

I have grown in confidence and my passion for mental health education has been burning so bright these past few months since I have returned back to campaigning. I've learnt that big or small, every action towards changing attitudes towards mental ill health is a drop in a much wider ocean. Every one of us using our voices are creating a change. 

This campaign is so vitally important and the news of the government stopping funding hit us all in different ways. I felt angered that mental health once again seems to left on the back seat. But now it is up to us to keep the conversation going. 

To the staff that have supported me over the past 2 and a bit years, thank you. Thank you for giving me amazing experiences like meeting Jonny Benjamin, for supporting me whilst I took a year and a half break from campaigning and for inspiring me and supporting me on my journey back into campaigning. 

To the other young champions, thank you for your support, thank you for the laughs and thank you for understanding. I will never forget on that first training weekend when I asked Jonny Benjamin a question and then one of the other young champions turned to me and whispered "did you have to rehearse that in your heard a million times?" Someone understood. Being in a room full of people who just got it without having to explain it is a feeling I will never forget. Thank you. 

What comes next now this campaign ceases to exist? We keep going, we keep speaking and we keep sharing. 

"Time to Change is within you all- you are Time to Change- you'll never stop- it won't ever be the end" - @JoLoughran, Director of Time to Change 

We are Time to Change

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