Hosted by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Wellbeing and Recovery College, Stamping Out Stigma Champions in partnership with the University of Worcester and Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

Time to Talk Day World Café
Thursday 1st Feb 2024, 10.00-12.30
University of Worcester Arena, Severn Campus, Worcester WR2 5JN

The day brought together over 70 people from diverse communities at a World Café event with the aim of highlighting layers of stigma and discrimination and to explore their impact on mental health.

Setting the Scene
The morning started by creating a safe and supportive space over coffee and cookies, encourage people to chat. People then spent time moving between tables sharing experiences, exploring what resources are available to support people and what positive changes they would make if they had a magic wand. Key messages from the day were scribbled and drawn onto paper tablecloths, noted by a wonderful team of table hosts, and shared at the end of the morning.

Valuable learning
Amongst all the valuable learning, the main highlight of the event was undoubtedly the level of energy and engagement created by the fantastic people who joined us for the morning. The open conversations, depth of input and enthusiasm in making a positive contribution from all aspects has left the team with a mountain of information to shape into resources that will help to inform future events and initiatives. Feedback from the event tells us that people really welcomed the opportunity and a safe space to have this kind of discussion.

“Sometimes stigma can make you feel frustrated, but sometimes, empowered to make change.”

It will be no surprise that the role of media and social media in fuelling negative attitudes came up repeatedly along with the need for more education from a young age and celebrating difference.

3 key messages from the room:
• Stigma is everywhere it is pervasive, and it can affect anyone.
• The layers of stigma can be multiple, varied and can intensify the significant impact on someone’s mental health for example:
o a woman with a physical disability who also has a diagnosed mental health condition.
o a young man who is struggling with his identity and not getting to the youth group he thinks might help because he is anxious that his mates might ridicule him for it.
o someone who is working or studying here from overseas, who is struggling to fit into their new culture and feeling lonely.
o a man of colour who is working but on a low income, is having to use a foodbank has developed a gambling problem and is worried he will lose his job.
o a carer who looks after a loved one with a physical health condition who needs bariatric healthcare.
• The people who are stigmatised have to do the “heavy lifting in challenging negative attitudes and behaviours – It is everyone’s responsibility to be accountable.

Loving Local Resources
Alongside the world café was a much-appreciated marketplace of local resources and 23 support organisations at which people could find information, advice or help with mental health and wellbeing.

And a final tip from one of the many Post It notes:
“Measure your day in “Smiles per hour!”

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