The world famous Birmingham Bullring bull sculpture has vanished from public view today for the first time since it was  installed 20 years ago.  

The much-loved Birmingham landmark will be out of public view as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The famous statue – the third most photographed landmark in Britain – has vanished this week, in a bid to remind people to use ‘No Bull’ when talking about their mental health. Instead, the Bull is encased in a box, signposting people to places to ask for help in managing their mental health and finding support.

With one in four people experiencing significant mental health difficulties each year, and an increase in mental health related issues since the COVID-19 lockdown, the campaign is designed to encourage people to be open about the feelings they face and remove the stigma around speaking out.

To raise awareness about the impact of mental health, and to offer support and advice, the iconic Bullring bull has been packed away in a huge box. The bull is a core attraction in the Bullring ever since it was first installed 20 years ago. Brummie families, including tourists, are always drawn to the sculpture, and organisers often use the bull to highlight events and parades in the city such as Pride, St Patrick’s Day, Chinese New Year, etc.

Nargus Williams
The iconic Bullring bull decked out for St. Patrick’s Day in 2020

While the Bull may be temporarily missing, the Bullring has gained 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 is 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 – has a host of friendly experts available to talk. Whether a person is looking to have a quick chat about services available; or to ask for advice and support: the team is there 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 iconic Bullring bull is encased in a box with details of mental health supportHandout
The iconic Bullring bull is encased in a box with details of mental health support

The suite of services available at the Wellbeing Drop-In Hub are provided by trained specialists from Birmingham Mind, who are there to talk and offer advice – whether it’s information 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, said: “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.”

The Birmingham Bullring bull sculpture will be covered from Monday 9 May and will return on Monday 16 May.

To seek mental health and wellbeing advice, support, counselling or mental health crisis support, call the 24/7 helpline on 0121 262 3555. 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.

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