A CAMPAIGN has been launched to tackle how people think and feel about mental health.
The NHS, local authorities, community groups, charities, employers and schools will be involved in the project.
West Sussex has been named one of the first Time to Change hubs in the country.
The aim is to work together to improve attitudes and behaviours towards people experiencing mental health problems.
Insights from the national Time to Change campaign, run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, will be combined with local knowledge to encourage communities, workplaces and schools to take action in their area.
Christine Field, West Sussex County Council health and wellbeing board chairwoman, said: “This is a really positive step forward as we need to change the way everyone thinks and acts regarding mental health problems.
“Our ultimate goal can be achieved by working more closely with our partners and the community.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to reach their potential and live good lives.
“We are confident becoming one of the country’s first Time to Change hubs is key to this.”
Coastal West Sussex Mind chief executive Katie Glover said: “As our hub develops we hope that lots of people who have experienced mental health problems themselves will be inspired and motivated to get involved by becoming champions.
“Anyone who is interested in contributing should definitely get in touch.
“This is such an amazing opportunity to do more and do better at changing attitudes and behaviour around mental health locally.”
West Sussex is one of four hubs to be launched along with Cumbria, Leeds and Suffolk.
Over the next three years a further 12 hubs will be established across England to provide a focus for local campaigning work.
Jo Loughran, Time to Change director of operations, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with organisations and individuals across West Sussex as part of this exciting new initiative.
“Up until now our local work has been driven by the commitment of individual champions, employers and schools.
“By having hubs in place we’re bringing their work together to ensure the campaign takes root in local communities going forward.”
In order to be named a Time to Change hub, local organisations have to demonstrate their commitment in three areas.
These include putting people with personal experience of mental health problems at the heart of their work and embedding anti-stigma and discrimination work locally.
This involves schools, workplaces and other community settings
The areas also need to proactively campaign to improve people’s attitudes and behaviour towards mental health.
Time to Change West Sussex is a partnership between the county council, Chichester District Council, Coastal West Sussex Mind, the Pathfinder West Sussex Alliance, Sussex Partnership NHS Trust and the Capital Project Trust.