Nottingham City Council has formally launched as a Nottingham Time to Change Hub, which has been set up to change how we all think and act about mental health locally.

Self Help UK are the coordinators of the hub and since March this year have recruited over 70 local champions with lived experience to lead activity in the city. The Hub’s vision is a city where people talk openly about mental health in the same way as they would physical health, without fear or discrimination. Activity will be led through workplace and social contact events supported by Nottingham Time to Change champions.

Nottingham Playhouse and Self Help UK are two of the first City employers, associated with the hub, to sign the pledge to do their bit to fight stigma. Nottinghamshire Healthcare, the mental health service provider in the City and County, first signed up to the pledge in 2008.

The signing of the pledges will take place at the Playhouse, following the matinee performance of ‘The Madness of George III’, the theatre’s current production, starring Mark Gatiss of League of Gentlemen fame. The performance is to be followed by a panel discussion about the nature of mental health with professionals and people with lived experience who share their stories about stigma and why it is so important to talk openly about mental health and the impact it has on us all. One in four people will experience mental distress at some point in their lives – and this is something that should be acknowledged and discussed openly.

Time to Change hubs are networks of local organisations and individuals committed to ending negative attitudes and behaviours towards people experiencing mental health problems in their communities.

Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless. But with the right support from those around them, people can recover and have equal opportunities in all areas of life. Encouraging people to open up to mental health – to talk and to listen – is the first step.

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health at Nottingham City Council, said:
“There is already some excellent work going on in the city to reduce mental health discrimination and stigma, but it’s great to now have the Nottingham Time to Change Hub to bring together our activities so that they have even more impact.

“Nottingham City Council signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge in 2014 and continues to take action to reduce mental health stigma in the workplace. I would encourage any employer to take the Employer Pledge as it focuses activity to improve the mental health of their employers.”

Sarah Collis, CEO at Self Help UK, said: “Self Help UK is honoured to work alongside people with lived experience of mental health problems to create the Time to Change Hub in Nottingham. Our pledge to our staff and volunteers as a Time to Change Employer is testament to the strength and inspiration we gain from the members of the self help groups we support. We know that sharing experiences can help people feel less isolated and that together we can change the way mental illness is perceived by challenging stigma and discrimination around mental health.”

Adam Penford, Artistic Director of the Playhouse, added: “We are delighted to be supporting this important and timely initiative. The Madness of George III highlights the major shifts in societal attitudes to mental health, not just in the 200 years since George III ruled, but also in the last 25 years when Alan Bennett wrote the play. The arts can be an intense environment to work in, with pressurised deadlines, unsociable hours and under-resourced facilities. Nottingham Playhouse takes the mental health of our staff and the freelancers we collaborate with seriously, and we’re delighted to publicly commit to continuing to do so.”

Time to Change is a growing social movement aimed at changing how we all think and act about mental health. They are funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund. Their campaign is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and thousands more organisations have joined to make change happen.

The panel discussion will take place at 5.00pm on 17 November 2018, following the 2.30pm matinee performance of the play. At 5.45pm the formal launch event will take place. For tickets, visit: