Halton has been selected as one of eight areas to tackle mental health stigma locally after winning a bid to become one of 2019’s Time to Change Hubs.

Time to Change Halton will be joining a network of over 40 Hubs across England to help change the way we all think and act about mental health problems.

Each funded Hub is provided with £15,000 start-up budget along with £10,000 for a Champions Fund where local champions can bid for funding to run stigma busting events and activities within their area.

Halton’s Time to Change Hub will be a partnership between people with their own lived experience of mental health problems (Champions) and representatives from Halton Borough Council, Mind Halton, Riverside College, Young Addaction, Halton Chamber of Commerce, Halton Housing, Shopping City Runcorn and Employment, Learning and Skills Division.

The Hub will combine the insights of the national Time to Change campaign with local knowledge. They will support communities, workplaces and schools to take action to end negative attitudes and behaviours towards people experiencing mental health problems in their communities.

Halton Borough Council Executive Board Member for Health and Wellbeing Cllr Marie Wright, said: “I’m delighted we’re able to bring a Time To Change Hub to Halton.

“The Hub will build on the work already being done by our partner organisations and those of us with lived experience of mental health issues to get people in our local communities talking and tackling mental health stigma, particularly in young people and men.”

Liv Eren, local champion and Youth Cabinet Member from Widnes said: “Its brilliant news that Halton is to become a Time to Change Hub. It is really important that we all start to talk more about mental health.

“There are young people out there really struggling with issues around mental health and we need to make sure that they feel comfortable opening up about it.

“We’ll be working hard to encourage our schools to do more to make sure that mental health is given a high priority and that young people can talk about their issues with no stigma attached to them. This really is a chance for us all to make a positive change.”

Time to Change, the national campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, launched its first regional Hubs in March 2017. The announcement of eight further funded Hubs, including Halton, is part of the campaign’s three year plan to establish a network of Hubs across England to provide a focus for local campaigning work.

Since their initial launch, Time to Change Hubs have successfully campaigned to end mental health stigma and discrimination.

Their work has ranged from stopping a stigmatising theatre show ‘Psycho Asylum’ from touring the country to supporting Time to Talk Day (7 February 2019), running events and delivering campaigns aimed at improving understanding and respect for people living with a mental health problem.

To find out more about Time to Change Halton visit www.haltonhealthimprovement.co.uk