Campaign to change attitudes to mental health

Campaign to change attitudes to mental health

By Liz Lockhart

On 13th June, Wales took another step forward to tackle the stigma and discrimination of people with mental health disorders.

A campaign called ‘Time to Change Wales’ hopes to achieve the success of ‘Time to Change England’ and ‘See Me’ in Scotland, both of which were started nine years ago.  Three charities have secured almost £2 million to run ‘Time to Change Wales’.  These charities are Mind Cymru, Hafal and Gofal.

The aim of the campaign is to run high-profile, national social marketing and media campaigns to challenge negative attitudes that can surround mental health, says

The original deadline for a national anti-stigma campaign to be launched in Wales was nine years ago.

‘We know that campaigns to tackle discrimination against people with mental health problems have had real success in England and Scotland through the work done by Time to Change and See Me.  This partnership gives a great opportunity for Wales to build on this work and make a positive difference to the lives of people who experience mental distress’ said Lindsay Foyster, director of Mind Cymru.

Ewan Hilton, the chief executive of Gofal said: ‘Experience of stigma and discrimination are stories we hear every day from the people who use our services – experiences that prevent people from seeking help, contribute to people becoming more unwell and prevent people from living fulfilled lives.’

‘Yet we know that what drives people to discriminate is built on ignorance and myth’ he added.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission Wales and the Mental Health Research Network have carried out extensive research into the problem and have found:

  • Almost half the people in Wales believe people who have experienced depression are unsuitable to work as primary school teachers.
  • Two thirds of people in Wales would not rent a room in a shared flat to someone with a mental health condition.

Antidiscrimination training to employers and community leaders will be provided by ‘Time to Change Wales’.  With high unemployment in Wales it is hoped that these steps to stop the stigma and discrimination against those with mental health disorders may help them back into the workplace.

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