Nick Clegg gives support to mental health campaign

Nick Clegg gives support to mental health campaign

By Rachel O'Rourke

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has hosted a reception to support the Time to Change mental health programme.

Time to Change, run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, aims to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems; recently launching its first television advert campaign about the plight.

Clegg was joined by celebrities at the gala held at London's Admiralty House, including Marcus Trescothick, broadcaster and TV presenter Fiona Phillips, TV presenter Trisha Goddard and writer Alastair Campbell.

The campaign, which first launched in 2007 with funding from the Big Lottery Fund and Comic Relief, has spurred support from over 89,000 people who actively follow the cause and whom Clegg personally thanked.

He said: "Time to Change has been instrumental in changing attitudes to mental health across the country. This success has only come about because of those who have put so much energy into backing the campaign and been so brave in coming forward with their own very personal and sometimes harrowing stories. It is only thanks to their courage in speaking out that we can encourage others to do the same. I'm very pleased to support the campaign and to have had the opportunity to thank some of those involved in making such a difference.

“Challenging attitudes and behaviour is essential if we are to ensure that people with mental health problems feel able to talk openly about their illness, just like other physical illnesses.”

Although there has been a four per cent reduction in the discrimination that people with mental health problems report, "there is still a way to go," according to the charity which published the following statistics:

  • only 15% of the British public admit to being truthful all of the time about how they’re really feeling
  • younger people between 18 and 24 years are twice as likely (27%) to hide how they’re feeling compared to those aged 65 and over (12%)
  • further results show, a third of people confess the reason they’re not always honest is because they don’t want to depress other people (37%) or don’t like talking about how they’re feeling (35%)

The next part of the campain, called "It's time to talk. It's time to change", also launched this week using social media and community engagement, aimed at changing adult's attitudes towards people with mental health problems, particularly in a professional working environment.

Director of Time to Change, Sue Baker, said: "[The]reception, with the support of the Deputy Prime Minster, marks a major milestone for Time to Change. Over the last four years we’ve started to witness changes in public attitudes and more importantly behaviour. However, none of this would have been possible without the thousands of people with mental health problems across England who have spoken out to combat the stigma that still plagues mental health.

"It will take more than a few years to overturn decades of prejudice - this is the work of a generation.”

The charity is calling for people to “make a pledge to talk about mental health” under a new initiative. To support the pledge, please go to the follow link:


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