Response to India Knight article
Posted Monday 8 October 2012
Statement on The Sunday Times columnist India Knight’s piece, which discusses celebrities speaking out about their mental health problems.
Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, the anti-stigma programme run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, said:
Being famous doesn’t make you immune to depression, just like it doesn’t make you immune to any other health issue. Celebrities speaking out about their experiences of mental health problems can encourage others to seek help and support, and change public attitudes about the issue. Hearing from someone in the public eye who appears ‘to have it all’ can help others to feel able to say ‘I’ve gone through that too’. And this is the point – everyone should be able to speak out and not fear any reprisal, regardless of their public profile.
We want to see more people speaking openly about their experiences - famous and not famous. It isn’t helpful to criticise ‘misery lit’, and suggesting that people are ‘cashing in’ on their experiences will only serve to silence the discussion.
Time to Change and thousands of others, including celebrities, have been campaigning for years to challenge negative attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental health problems and we are starting to see changes emerge, but sadly there is still a long way to go until stigma is completely eradicated.