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The Saturdays singer Frankie Sandford is wearing her heart on her sleeve today (Thursday 15 August) and fronting a new campaign for Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma programme run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which aims to stamp out the stigma that surrounds mental health problems.
Her support follows results of a new survey commissioned by Time to Change, show that nearly half of 25-34 year olds (45%) feel that people in the public eye, like Frankie, Stephen Fry, Ruby Wax, and Denise Welch, have made them more aware of the stigma that surrounds mental health problems.
The research also reveals that over a third of adults (39%) say that hearing about a celebrity talking about their own experiences in the media has made them think more positively about mental health in general.
Alongside fellow ambassadors, including This Morning’s Matt Johnson, the ‘Issues’ and ‘What About Us’ singer has been seen wearing a heart-shaped fake tattoo, designed by contemporary British artist Stuart Semple, to support Time to Change’s It’s time to talk campaign.
Both Frankie and Matt have talked openly about their experiences of depression, to help tackle the discrimination that many people with a mental health problem still face.
The campaign highlights the vital role that people from all walks of life can play in speaking out about their experiences, and break down the taboo surrounding mental health.
Other celebrities who have shown their support, and have been seen wearing the fake tattoo on Twitter are - Ricky Hatton, Ruby Wax, Dr Dawn Harper, Uri Geller, Russell Kane and Rachel Bruno.
"Mental health is still such an awkward subject, yet if someone was going through another health issue we wouldn’t hesitate to ask them how they’re doing.
When I experienced depression, I had the support of friends and family which really helped - being able to talk about it is really important.
I hope by supporting Time to Change I can raise awareness about the importance of starting a conversation.
If you know someone experiencing a mental health problem, you could ask them how they are, or send them a quick text to let them know you’re there – it can make a huge difference and remind them that they’re not alone.
We all have mental health, so it’s something we should definitely learn to be more open about."
Time to Change Director Sue Baker, said:
"Mental health problems can happen to anyone so it is vital that we start to be more open about it as a common health issue.
Celebrities and those of us that speak out about our experiences as part of our daily lives have a powerful role in helping the public to think differently about mental health.
Our campaign encourages people to talk to friends and family members who have a mental health problem as these conversations aren’t as scary or awkward as people think they will be.
We also want to support more people to talk openly about their own mental health problems to help change outdated attitudes.
The more we’re able to speak openly about mental health problems, the earlier people will be able to get the help and support needed, and the sooner we can break the taboo."
It’s time to talk encourages all of us to start a conversation about mental health by highlighting the small things that we all can do to support someone.
By letting people know that straight forward actions like sending a text, or asking someone how they are, can really help, it shows people that talking about this taboo subject isn’t as scary as they think.
The campaign is asking the public to start their conversation by sharing Time to Talk posts and pictures on social media.
To find out how to get involved and which other celebrities are supporting the campaign go to time-to-change.org.uk or tweet #Timetotalk