It was an honour to be asked to speak at the celebration event marking the end of the Time to Change thirteen-year campaign to end mental health discrimination.
Time To Change has helped so many people find a voice and the tools to challenge the discrimination that sadly still exists today in 2021.
It is frustrating funding has been removed but it is my hope the Speakers Collective can in a small part fill the gap.
Below is a transcript of my talk at the Time To Change Celebration event that took place on 25th March 2021.
Jon Salmon - My Story as a Time To Change Champion
Very tragically a friend had died by suicide in 2016, and I realised that I couldn’t stay quiet any longer. For over 15 years I had hidden the fact that I had been sectioned in a mental health unit in my early 20s and had lost my Dad to suicide when I was a teenager.
Sharing my story publicly to the world’s media as part of the incredible Heads Together campaign was certainly one way to free myself of the shame and stigma that I had felt over the years.
Hearing other people then open up to me made me realise how important my lived experience was to inform and inspire others.
It was Time To Change that gave me the tools and support to keep the conversation going.
I will never forget the day I went back to my old college to share my experience with students for Time To Talk Day in 2018. Then Waltham Forest where I lived became the first London borough to be awarded ‘hub status and I became the Co-Chair of the Steering Group.
Helping to run social contact and speaking out training locally with new champions allowed me to grow in confidence and feel like I was giving back to the community.
Becoming a media volunteer for Time To Change, gave me the opportunity to talk about my lived experience to a global audience speaking on 15 radio stations and even an appearance on Sky News.
As Time To Change moved to embed sustainability into its activities I was able to focus my attention on What’s Going On In Head where we explore the secret inner workings of
the mind through live performance and discussion.
And of course, the Speakers Collective bringing people together with a shared commitment to challenging stigma, facilitate important conversations and promote learning on a variety of social issues.
So, as you can see Time To Change has had a massive impact on my life.
While I am sad like so many that funding has come to an end I really want to celebrate what we have all achieved and will go on to achieve in the future to change how people think and act about mental health problems.
Thank you to every Champion and member of staff at Mind and Rethink Mental Illness who were part of this groundbreaking campaign. If you have been impacted by anything covered in this article please visit Hub of Hope or you can contact the Samaritans by calling 116 123.
The Speakers Collective is a Social Enterprise. We work together with a shared commitment to challenge stigma, facilitate important conversations and promote learning on a variety of social issues. If you are looking for a speaker or want to work with us please do get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.