For the first time since its arrival 20 years ago, the much-loved Birmingham Bull will be out of public view all of next week, as part of a Mental Health Awareness Week campaign. Teaming up with NHS Birmingham and Solihull, Birmingham Mind and Living Well UK, the Bullring is encouraging people to be totally open about their mental health state with ‘No Bull’.
The famous statue – the third most photographed landmark in Britain – will be vanishing next week to remind people to use ‘No Bull’ when talking about their mental health. Instead, the Bull will be cased in a box, signposting people to places to ask for help in managing their mental health and finding support.
With one in four of us experiencing significant mental health difficulties each year, the campaign is designed to encourage people to be open about the feelings they face and remove the stigma around speaking out.
While the Bull may be missing, the Bullring will also be gaining a new addition, in the form of a Wellbeing Drop-In Hub. Headed up by Birmingham Mind, in collaboration with NHS Birmingham and Solihull and Living Well UK, the Hub will be open 10am-4pm, Monday to Saturday, giving passers-by the ability to drop in and chat. The Hub – located in the former GAP retail unit – will have a host of friendly experts available to talk. Whether you’re looking to have a quick chat about services available; or to ask for advice and support: the team will be on-hand to offer a helping hand and a listening ear.
Commenting on the collaboration for Mental Health Awareness Week, Helen Wadley, CEO of Birmingham Mind said:
“We’re so pleased to be working with the Bullring team this Mental Health Awareness Week, and I’m sure we can all agree that it’s time for ‘No Bull’ when talking about wellbeing. Since the launch of our one-stop mental health phoneline for residents of Birmingham and Solihull during the first Covid lockdown, we’ve seen an ever-increasing incline in calls, which we hope is a sign that people are feeling more confident, secure, and ready to reach out than ever before.
“Mental health doesn’t discriminate and you – or those around you – may be struggling with more bad days than good. For anyone who wants to talk about the challenges they are facing, be assured that our team is friendly, supportive, and they want to hear from you. There is help out there, and most importantly, it is free, accessible, and available to you today. Whether you’re in the Bullring and want to see us; would rather type your feelings via our Live Web Chat; or speak over the phone, at any time of the day: we’re here to talk.”
The suite of services available at the Wellbeing Drop-In Hub will be provided by trained specialists from Birmingham Mind, who are there to talk and offer advice – whether it’s advice on how to improve low mood or support if they are experiencing a crisis. The partners hope that this week-long campaign will highlight the services that are provided by Birmingham Mind, NHS CCG and Living Well UK all year round, which give those in the region access to immediate mental health support.
Lisa Stalley-Green, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Nursing Officer of NHS Birmingham and Solihull concluded:
“We can all have struggles with our mental health. Just like with our physical health, we can benefit from taking the time to care for our wellbeing. One of the best things we can do is to share how we are feeling. No matter what we are going through, talking to those around us – whether that’s a friend, family member or colleague – can really help to improve our mental health during difficult times. This isn’t always easy, and that’s okay, because thanks to our local mental health helpline there will always be someone to listen and help.
“If you want to talk, or know someone who could benefit from support, our mental health helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you pick up the phone today, or join us on webchat, you’ll be speaking to our caring and professional colleagues who can provide advice, resources and explain how various services provided by the NHS and specialist other organisations could help you.”
The Bull will be covered from 9 May and will return on the 16 May. You can also visit the Wellbeing Hub in Bullring from 10am to 4pm from Monday 9 May to Saturday 14 May at the former GAP unit.