Public helps council to achieve mental health conversation goal

It’s often said by those who have experienced mental health problems, that
the stigmas surrounding mental health can have a bigger, more lasting
impact than the problem itself. But there’s one simple thing that you can
do to help – talk about mental health.

St Helens Council’s Healthy Living Team has been doing just that ever since
the launch of the ‘Time to Talk in St.Helens #10000minutes’ campaign at the Town Hall in October to celebrate World Mental Health Day, promoting the anti-discriminatory messages of Time to Change, England’s biggest campaign to challenge mental health stigma, led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

100 non-experts were gathered from local community and voluntary
organisations to learn how to go about having 10 minute conversations on
mental health with a further 10 people in their communities, creating the
10,000 minutes of discussion.

But thanks to an overwhelming response from the public, who got in touch to have their own mental health conversations tagged to a live map of the
borough, the 10,000 minute goal was achieved within just 6 weeks!

Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing,
said: “We’ve seen such a great response from the public that the Healthy
Living Team is setting the bar higher at 20,000 minutes. We’ll need the
community to pull together to achieve this!

“Research shows that one in four people nationally will experience mental
health issues in the course of a year, so it’s certainly something that we,
as a community, need to be proactive about.

“Talking about mental health is the best way to help – by simply having a
conversation with family, with friends, with whomever, we can begin to
eliminate the stigma that often stifles and isolates people experiencing
mental distress.”

Residents can help by having their own conversations with family, friends
and colleagues, and then logging those conversations by emailing
timetotalk@sthelens.gov.uk, to be added to the live map, showing
whereabouts people have been talking. You can help us to achieve 20,000
minutes up until the beginning of 2016, when the live map will close.

So whether it’s that call, that walk, that text or that cuppa… it’s the
little things we do that make a big difference.

To find out more about mental health and the #20000minutes campaign, please call Drew Perkins, Health Improvement Specialist on 0300 300 0103 (option 1), or email timetotalk@sthelens.gov.uk