Press release

£20 million to knock down mental health stigma

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The government is joining forces with Comic Relief to help tackle mental health stigma, with funding of up to £20 million

The government is joining forces with Comic Relief to help tackle mental health stigma, with funding of up to £20 million for Time to Change, the leading stigma and anti-discrimination campaign, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

This is the first time that the long-standing campaign has received government funding: up to £16 million over the next four years. It will also receive £4million from Comic Relief - the second time the charity has awarded its largest UK grant to Time to Change. 

Time to Change runs events and campaigns as varied as getting young men and women into the boxing gym where they can meet people, pick up new skills and improve their mental health and confidence; and campaigning to change public behaviour towards people with mental health problems. The new funding will allow Time to Change to reach 29 million members of the public and increase the confidence of 100,000 people with mental health problems to challenge stigma and discrimination.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow this week visited Duke McKenzie’s fitness centre in Crystal Palace, where Time to Change has sent scores of young men and women with mental health problems.

Speaking at Duke’s, Paul Burstow said:

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.

Time to Change is already making a big difference. Many of the young people who go to Duke’s went with low confidence having never had the chance to talk to others in an open environment. Its helped boost self-confidence; and the people at the gym get to see that people with mental health problems are no different to the rest of us.

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, said:

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.

Time to Change Director, Sue Baker, said:

Stigma and discrimination ruin lives, and prevent people with mental health problems using their full potential and playing an active part in society.  We have worked hard over the last four years to secure the beginnings of change in society, and have seen robust evidence of a reduction in discrimination.  But it takes more than four years to overturn decades of prejudice - this is the work of a generation.  Mind and Rethink Mental Illness are grateful for this new funding which will make a difference to the lives of millions of people - those with mental health problems and those around them.

The funding will help Time to Change continue its work until March 2015 and help change attitudes and behaviours on a mass scale, empowering individuals to tackle discrimination across all sectors and communities.

It will fund the next phase of this highly successful campaign, including testing new approaches to tackling mental health stigma and discrimination amongst children and young people, and starting with some specific work with the African Caribbean community.


Additional supportive comments

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said:

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 of Rethink Mental Illness said:

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.

Notes to Editors

1) Visit the Time to Change website for more information.

2) 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.

As a result of this campaign, 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. According to data from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, 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.

3) The source of statistics in this press release: Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in Great Britain, Office of National Statistics, 2005.