TV ad shows mental health stigma can be a matter of life and death
Posted Friday 23 January 2009
A new hard-hitting advertising campaign shows that being told to "pull yourself together", being left out of things and treated as "a problem" can lead people with mental health problems to despair - tragically for some, they just can't go on. Viewers will be left in no doubt that the way they treat people with mental health problems like depression can make all the difference.
The TV ad will first air during ITV's Coronation Street on Wednesday 21 January 2009.
It marks the launch of the Time to Change programme, England's biggest and most ambitious campaign to end mental health discrimination.
Time to Change is run by leading mental health charities Mental Health Media, Mind and Rethink, and backed by £16 million from the Big Lottery Fund  and £2 million from Comic Relief.
1 in 4 of us will have a mental health problem at some stage in life, yet research shows that attitudes to mental illness are just getting worse . And for many the stigma is harder to deal with than the illness itself. Time to Change aims to improve public attitudes and get mental health problems out into the open.
The straight-talking campaign runs for four weeks from 21 January and includes:
- a hard-hitting TV ad
- celebrity press ads featuring Stephen Fry, Ruby Wax and Alastair Campbell
- bold, uncompromising stunts to grab public attention
- a string of high-profile supporters, from celebs to politicians
- press events.
Fearne Cotton, celebrity supporter, says "Mental health problems are just part of life. So I think it's time that attitudes came into the 21st century, so that everyone is treated equally".
Sue Smith, who has had depression, says "I had cancer, and everyone rallied around to offer support. But then later, when I got depression, things couldn't have been more different. It's odd, but people found the cancer easier to deal with than the depression - mental health problems are still a taboo".
Sue Baker, Time to Change Director says:
"Years of research show mental health problems are one of our last great taboos. Even though 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some stage, the stigma and discrimination they face deny people relationships, work, education, hope, and the chance to live an ordinary life that others take for granted. The time for change is now."
Launch event: Weds 21 Jan 9.30am , 12.30pm National Film Theatre, London. 
An event to launch Time to Change to opinion-formers, this will be an opportunity to find out more about this groundbreaking campaign, see a preview screening of the TV ad and hear from spokespeople from across the public and voluntary sectors. Time to Change aims to work with all sectors of English society to smash this last great taboo. For this event contact: Kate Stringer - 020 8215 2352 / 07886 625 201
Photo-call: Weds 21 Jan, 12.30pm Jubilee Rooms, Houses of Parliament.
Members of parliament from all three major political parties will be attending a short photo-call to help launch the Time to Change campaign to end mental health discrimination and stigma. MPs will be hearing first-hand how discrimination affects the lives of people with mental health conditions. Parliamentary supporters of the campaign include Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Conservative mental health spokesperson Anne Milton MP. Press welcome.
Notes to editors
1.Time to Change is England's most ambitious programme to end the discrimination faced by people with mental health problems, and improve the nation's wellbeing. Mental Health Media, Mind, and Rethink are leading the programme, funded with £16m from the Big Lottery Fund and £2m from Comic Relief, and evaluated by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College, London.
For further information go to www.time-to-change.org.uk
2. The Big Lottery Fund's support for Time to Change comes from its �165m Well-being programme, which provides funding to support the development of healthier lifestyles and to improve well-being. The Big Lottery Fund has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006. Full details of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888 / Out of hours: 07867 500 572 Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030 / Textphone: 08456 021 659
3. Attitudes to Mental Illness in England 2007, CSIP/SHiFT July 2007
4.The launch event will feature speakers including:
Sue Baker, Director, Time to Change
Peter Wanless, Chief Executive, Big Lottery Fund
Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive, Comic Relief
Sally Brampton, journalist and author of Shoot the Damn Dog
Mark Easton, BBC Home Editor
Kathryn Tyson, Director of Mental Health Policy, Department of Health
Sue Smith, one of the faces of the Time to Change campaign.
For full details and to attend the event, contact Kate Stringer, Communications Officer, Time to Change:
020 8215 2352 / 07886 625 201