In response to the announcement that government will continue to fund the Time to Change campaign, which is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, for a further year:
Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, says:
“This commitment to funding Time to Change is very welcome, and will make a real difference to the millions of us who experience mental health problems each year. The announcement comes in response to our joint bid to the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund. We’re seeing really encouraging signs of change including last year the biggest improvement in attitudes in at least a decade. But ending discrimination for good is still a long term goal, and there’s still a lot more work to be done before everyone with a mental health problem can live life free from discrimination.”
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, says:
“This has been a sea change week for mental health, with some significant progress on our journey to seeing parity between physical and mental health services and working towards ending mental health stigma. We are delighted that funding for our Time to Change campaign will continue. The fantastic results we have seen in improving public attitudes about mental health and reducing people’s experience of discrimination show what a powerful force Time to Change has been over the last few years. We will now be able to keep up the momentum in the year ahead.
We were also pleased yesterday to welcome the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to Manchester Mind where he got to see for himself the fantastic work that they do supporting people with mental health problems locally and heard direct from service users about the issues that matter most to them.”
Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, says:
“This is fantastic news, and will enable us keep on tackling stigma and discrimination. This really matters because stigma ruins lives. For some, it means not only having to deal with a serious illness, but also having to keep it a secret. This can be an incredibly isolating experience and lead to people feeling cut off from society. It also means people with mental health problems are less likely to get support and treatment. Shifting these attitudes is the work of a generation and there is still a long way to go, but this funding means we will be able to keep moving forward and build on the incredible success we’ve already had.”
Time to Change is currently in its second phase which began in October 2011 with funding from the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund. Current funding is due to end on 31 March 2015.
The campaign released data this week which showed significant improvements to public attitudes, with the biggest annual improvement in the last decade taking place in 2013.
The most recent data shows that since the beginning of the current programme of Time to Change (2011) an estimated two million people – or 4.8% of the population - have improved attitudes towards people with a mental illness. It also shows that there was a 2.8% improvement in attitudes between 2012 and 2013 – the biggest annual shift in the last decade. While direct comparisons can’t be made before 2003, it also likely that this is the biggest annual improvement since the first survey was commissioned 20 years ago.