Updated: Oct 13
Want to find out the story behind PROJECT:TALK? Of course you do - who wouldn't? Read below to learn more about how we started, and how far we've come since 2018.
PROJECT:TALK has been developed by a passionate team of students and graduates following personal experiences with our own mental health and that of those around us.
Our aim is to build mental fitness in communities and we focus much of our work around positive, supportive conversation.
We've adopted the term 'mental fitness' as it doesn't carry the same negative assumptions that terms such as 'mental health' and 'wellbeing' often carry. We hope that this updated terminology will be free from supposition, and thus more appealing to those who perhaps would pass off mental health and wellbeing as not being for them.
However, mental fitness is not the same as mental wellbeing. It is less about dealing with mental health on an individual basis, and more about equipping, empowering and supporting communities to become mentally healthy, and to seek help when required.
So, that's the concept. How does it translate into the real world?
PROJECT:TALK is a union of two existing projects - WALK TO:TALK and TOOLS TO:TALK.
WALK TO:TALK: Formerly 'PROJECT WalktoTalk', our events brand was founded in 2018 by mental health campaigner Ben West in memory of his brother, Sam. Following hugely successful events in Kent and Bristol, we've taken on the task of expanding across the country and the world, into universities, schools, businesses and other communities.
TOOLS TO:TALK: Beginning as a peer-led mental health first aid training programme, TOOLS TO:TALK has just this year been formally implemented into Bristol University's medical curriculum. We saw no reason to stop there, so we have more recently been developing a selection of packages aimed at several select communities: schools, the wider student body, the general public, and businesses.
Our aim is to give people the tools, language and confidence to have supportive and effective conversations about mental health within their own communities. In time, we hope to expand our medical student programme to other universities, equipping as many future doctors as possible with essential mental health management skills.
The key to making our content accessible and sustainable is through recruitment. Without passionate, community-driven individuals helping us to build the PROJECT:TALK network, it would be impossible to achieve our aims.
We are currently primarily focussed on recruiting UK-based students, and are particularly looking for individuals who are keen to set up PROJECT:TALK societies at their own universities. Those who express interest will be provided with the training and materials needed to organise and run TOOLS TO:TALK sessions and WALK TO:TALK events in their own student communities. We also hope to support these societies to implement their own individual initiatives.
These societies will quickly become self-sustaining, fundraising for PROJECT:TALK CIC through WALK TO:TALK events. All profits will go towards funding mental health provision within communities.
Daisy and George, Founders & Directors of PROJECT:TALK CIC
If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in writing a post for the TIME TO:TALK blog, please contact Xav at email@example.com