Press release

Deputy Prime Minister launches search for Mental Health Heroes

Nick Clegg announces a search for unsung mental health heroes who have helped, supported or inspired those with mental health conditions.

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


The Deputy Prime Minister is calling on people to nominate unsung mental health heroes in their local area as part of his campaign to raise awareness of mental health problems.

One in four people will experience a mental health problem this year, but for many, the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental health will make it harder for them to speak out and seek the support they need. That’s why the Deputy Prime Minister is calling for nominations for local Mental Health Heroes to celebrate those from every region – from healthcare professionals to next door neighbours – who have gone above and beyond to help, support or inspire people with mental health conditions.

Find out who the Mental Health Heroes award winners are. They were announced on 5 February 2015 - #TimeToTalk Day.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

It could be the woman sitting next to you on the bus, the dad picking his child up at the school gates or a colleague from work – everyone knows someone living with a mental health problem.

I want to celebrate those who have gone that extra mile, whose passion and commitment have helped someone get through their darkest days and helped challenge the taboo around mental health which has existed for far too long.

It is my ambition to bring mental health out of the shadows and create a fairer society where people can speak up about how they feel and get the support and treatment they need to live the life that they choose.

The winning nominees will be invited to a ceremony in London on Thursday 5 February, which will mark Time to Change’s ‘Time to Talk Day’ to encourage people to speak out about mental health and spread the message that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.

Norman Lamb, Care and Support Minister, said:

Mental illness touches us all and, everyday, people in our communities are doing amazing things to improve the lives of those affected. We want to recognise and reward them.

I am determined to end discrimination faced by people with mental illness, which is why we’re continuing to fund Time to Change and support Time to Talk Day. Everyone has a part to play in tackling stigma and this is an important opportunity to start the conversations that will make lasting change.

The awards are part of the Deputy Prime Minister’s on-going work to bring awareness and treatment for of mental health in line with physical health. In government he has helped build a strong foundation for the improvement of mental health services, securing:

  • the UK’s first Mental Health Taskforce to combine the efforts and resources of ministers from across the coalition

  • £400 million investment expanding talking therapies

  • £150 million investment in treatment and support for children and young adults with eating disorders

  • £120 million investment in mental health to include the introduction in April 2015 of the first ever waiting time standards for mental health in the NHS

  • £54 million for the Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme

  • £7 million investment to fund 50 new inpatient beds for children and young people

If you would like to nominate someone for the Deputy Prime Minister’s Local Mental Health Hero Award, complete the nomination form by Tuesday 27 January 2015.

Notes to editors

We are looking for people who are changing lives through one or more of the following:

  • helping to break the stigma around mental health

  • inspiring others in addressing or overcoming mental health problems

  • making it easier for people to access mental health support and advice

  • supporting people experiencing mental health problems to stay in or return to work

  • pioneering new or innovative ways of supporting people with mental health problems and/or their families

Top statistics on mental health

  • 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year

  • 3 children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition

  • only a quarter of people with a common mental health problem get treatment, mostly in the form of medication

  • 2.3 million people with a mental health condition are out of work and mental health conditions are the primary reason for claiming health related benefits

  • the OECD estimated that mental ill-health costs the economy an estimated GBP 70 billion a year, equivalent to 4.5% of GDP, through lost productivity, social benefits and health care

  • the most common mental health problem is depression which is experienced by 8 to 12% of the population

Published 2 January 2015
Last updated 5 February 2015 + show all updates
  1. Added link to Mental Health Hero award winners.
  2. First published.