Department of Health and Comic Relief commit £20m to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination
Posted Monday 10 October 2011
When I was a teenager, I spent time in a child psychiatric unit and when I came out, the kids near where I lived found out. Over the next few years, every time I left the house I would be attacked and have abuse shouted at me. As a result, I started to go out less and less. This led to over a decade of having no social life.
Time to Change supporter
People’s lack of understanding and unfounded fears can be just as destructive as the mental health problem itself.
Time to Change Facebook fan
The charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness are to receive £16 million from the Department of Health and £4 million from Comic Relief to continue running Time to Change, England's most ambitious programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, until March 2015.
Nearly nine out of ten people with a mental health problem still say they face stigma and discrimination (1). Established in 2007, Time to Change is an England-wide programme to improve public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems. The programme also builds the skills and confidence of people who have mental health problems to tackle stigma within their own communities.
Tactics used by Time to Change have led to a marked reduction in discrimination and improvements to public attitudes, and include a social marketing campaign which has reached 34 million people in England, local events that get people talking about mental health more openly, and resources and advice for employers focused on managing mental health in the workplace.
New work in the next stage of the programme will focus on tackling stigma amongst children and young people, a new grant fund for 75 local community-led projects, and targeted work with black and minority communities starting with a focus on the African Caribbean community.
In its first four years, Time to Change has built a movement of over 85,000 individuals and hundreds of organisations from sectors as diverse as the Premier League, BT, EOn and NHS organisations who have pledged their support. Since the programme began, there have improvements to public attitudes and a four per cent reduction in the discrimination that people with mental health problems report (this would mean an estimated 23,500 more people living their lives free from discrimination compared to at the start of the campaign) (2).
However nearly nine out of ten people with experience of mental health problems still say they face stigma and discrimination. A recent survey of people in contact with Time to Change indicated that more than 40% of people are experiencing stigma and discrimination on daily, weekly or monthly basis, with more than a quarter (27%) stating that stigma and discrimination have made them want to give up on life (3).
Sue Baker, Director, Time to Change, comments:
Stigma and discrimination ruin lives by preventing people with mental health problems using their full potential and playing an active part in society. In our survey, 60% of people in touch with our campaign said that the stigma they face can be as bad as or even worse than the mental illness itself and 27% said that stigma and discrimination have made them want to give up on life – in 2011 that is incredibly shocking.
We have worked with thousands of people and organisations over the last four years to secure the beginnings of change and build a broad movement to finally tackle this damaging stigma. But it takes more than four years to overturn decades of prejudice - this is the work of a generation.
Care Services Minister Paul Burstow comments:
One in four of us will experience some form of mental health problem during our lives. Unfortunately, people often have to cope with stigma and discrimination alongside their condition, in their families, their classrooms and their work places.
Coping with a mental health condition is difficult enough without the added burden of overcoming discrimination too. That’s why I am committing up to £16 million over the next three and a half years to Time to Change to help fight the negative attitudes people have towards mental health conditions.
Comic Relief Chief Executive, Kevin Cahill, comments:
Comic Relief has a long standing commitment to helping people with mental health problems across the UK and has been working on this particular campaign since 2007. Four years on, we’re really starting to see some positive results - but we understand change takes time, and this next phase of the campaign will build on the success to date and the important lessons we have learned so far.
All too often people with mental health problems are blighted by the prejudice, ignorance and fear that surround it and Comic Relief is committed to working with Time to Change to overcome this.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind comments:
For generations we have swept mental illness under the carpet as a society. We've been afraid to talk about it and afraid to understand it.
The consequences for those experiencing mental health problems has been devastating. Stigma and discrimination has stopped people working, socialising and living life to the full.
Over the last few years, Time to Change has made real progress in changing societal attitudes but we won't give up until the job is done. We thank the Government and Comic Relief for their support and look forward to a future when anyone with a mental health problem has the opportunity to realise their ambitions.
Paul Jenkins, Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness, comments:
This is a fantastic opportunity to improve the lives of the thousands of people affected by mental illness and Rethink Mental Illness is proud to be playing its part in this movement for change.
It means in particular new focus on the stigma faced by children, young people and people from African Caribbean communities, offering hope to a new generation that they can grow up without the fear of discrimination blighting their lives.
The funding is an acknowledgement of both the importance of continuing to tackle stigma around mental illness and also the excellent results Time to Change has achieved so far.
For interview requests and case studies please contact Claire Monger in the Time to Change Press Office on 0208 2152 358 / 07789 721 966
Notes to Editors
- Time to Change is a programme run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, set up in 2007, that tackles mental health stigma and discrimination. It works closely with people with mental health problems to build their confidence and leadership skills to address stigma.
- For further information please visit www.time-to-change.org.uk
- According to data from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, so far there has been a four per cent reduction in the discrimination that people with mental health problems report, as well as improvements to public attitudes, as a result of the Time to Change campaign. The reduction in discrimination equates to 23,500 more people living lives completely free from discrimination compared to at the start of the campaign and 71,540 fewer people experiencing discrimination when looking for work.
- Viewpoint survey, 2008, of people receiving secondary mental health services supported under the Care Programme Approach; Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and Rethink Mental Illness (published 2009).
- Institute of Psychiatry and Rethink Mental Illness, data as yet unpublished.
- The Time to Change (TTC) survey was conducted online using SurveyMonkey. The survey was online from 9 September until 28 September 2011 and was completed by a total of 2,770 people across the UK. A link to the survey was distributed widely via TTC Facebook fans, on the TTC website, and via the networks of the mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.