Earlier this week Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg hosted a reception to mark the achievements of the Time to Change programme, run by charities Mindand Rethink Mental Illness, to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.
Clegg was joined by several celebrity supporters such as cricketer Marcus Trescothick, broadcaster and TV presenter Fiona Phillips, TV presenter Trisha Goddard and writer and communicator Alastair Campbell to highlight the ambitious programme.
“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,' Clegg said.
“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.”
Time to Change was established in 2007 with funding from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) and Comic Relief. Since then, as well as improvements to public attitudes, there has been a four per cent reduction in the discrimination that people with mental health problems report equating to an estimated 23,500 more people living their lives free from discrimination compared to at the start of the campaign .
However, new statistics show that there is still a long way to go:
The next stage of the campaign will focus on tackling the stigma amongst children and young people, and further funding from the Department of Health and Comic Relief enables Time to Change to continue its work until 2015. In addition a new grant fund for 75 local community-led projects will be launched, and targeted work with black and minority communities starting with a focus on the African Caribbean community.
Find out more by visiting www.time-to-change.org.uk.