Mental health campaign Time To Change gets £20m funding

Mental health campaign Time To Change gets £20m funding

By Rachel O’Rourke

Comic relief, along with the Government's Department of Mental Health, has announced that it will provide £20m in funding for the Time To Change campaign Phase Two, which aims to fight against the discrimination of people with mental health problems.

The funding, which will extend until 2015, will work towards beating the negative stigma that faces people suffering with mental illness. Through its next phase, the campaign aims to reach 29 million adults in England and increase the confidence of 100,000 people.

According to The Guardian, 80% of people surveyed by Time To Change recently, said that they had experienced discrimination and the negative stigma associated with mental health issues at some time; with 60% admitting that the stigma they faced was as bad as, or worse than, the actual symptoms - and nearly a third saying the stigma attached to them made them want to give up on life.

Time To Change said: "We have achieved alot in the last four years. As a society, we are becoming more open about mental health. Crucially, more people with mental health problems are now living lives free from discrimination. But there is still a long way to reach that tipping point where ignorance and stigma in relation to mental health are unacceptable, and where everyone with a mental health problem can be open about it without fear of stigma and discrimination."

The campaign will use the funding to "create long term change", including a new grants scheme to fund projects led by people with experience of mental distress as well as a strand working to tackle the stigma and discrimination faced by young people. Overall, Phase Two of the campaign aims to:

  • Improve attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems across England.
  • Reduce the discrimination that people with mental health problems experience
  • Empower people with mental health problems to tackle discrimination, and play an active role in their communities
  • Extend the programme to tackle the stigma faced by children and young people
  • Work with black and minority ethnic groups to address the specific issues that these communities face.

The initiative, backed by celebrities such as Ruby Wax, Stephen Fry and Gok Wan, said a survey conducted by Psychiatry at King's College London last year found that was an 0.8% improvement in public attitudes towards people with mental health issues since the campaign first launched in 2007.

Director of the campaign, 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. It takes years to overturn decades of prejudice - this is the work of a generation. [Charities] 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.


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