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Changing Minds

Changing Minds recruits and trains local people with direct experience of mental ill health to deliver mental health awareness training in their local communities, empowering people to use their experience to help reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by many people with mental health problems and promote understanding of mental health and well-being.

Changing Minds is a part-time 9 month "training as trainers" course for people with direct experience of mental health problems to train them to become trainers. It has been designed and shaped by people who have used mental health services themselves.

The course improves participants' skills, confidence and self-esteem. Participants learn skills that can be transferred into the job market e.g. understanding group dynamics, preparing presentations, facilitation skills in addition to how to design and deliver training sessions from their own perspective.

The course has been successfully run 5 times between 2004-7, by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Many people have gone back into full/part-time work as a result of attending Changing Minds.

The project:

  1. reduces stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems
  2. increases understanding of mental health and well-being
  3. provides employment opportunities for people with mental health problems
  4. develops the capacity of local organisations to deliver their own tailored Changing Minds programmes

Aims of the project

Changing Minds aims to:

  • train 3 local people from each target community as mental health awareness (MHA) and anti-stigma trainers (9 month part-time course)
  • train people from local community and statutory organisations as MHA trainers to work with direct-experience trainers (free 4 day course in return for 4 days training delivery each year)
  • produce Train-the-Trainers pack and guidance
  • support host organisations to deliver Train-the-Trainer packages.
  • co-ordinate learning network events every six months to bring trainers together for professional development, refresher training and problem-solving. These learning networks will link with the Wellnet project

Films from Changed Young Minds

Arc Theatre worked with a group of young people from the Heath Ward of the London Borough Barking and Dagenham to create a piece of drama based on the stories of elderly residents. The piece was performed at a community fun day in July 2010.

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