MYH Press Release June 2009

This week Comic Relief awarded £2million, its biggest ever single project grant,to 'Time to Change' a programme to end the stigma associated with mental health issues, run by the leading mental health charities MIND and Rethink.

Comic Relief's grant will help fund a ground breaking national marketing campaign, the most ambitious ever to change the public's attitude towards mental health problems. 'Time to Change' has already received £2m from Comic Relief and £16m from the Big Lottery Fund.

Launched in January this year, the campaign is supported by celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Ruby Wax, Patsy Palmer and Alistair Campbell, featuring TV, press and outdoor advertising it aims to get mental health issues onto the national agenda as the social justice issue for the 21st century.

Before reading further, watch the advert which was on TV in January and is now available to view on youtube

Despite the fact that one in four people will experience mental health problems, nine out of ten people who have had a mental health problem report that the negative impact of stigma and discrimination can be worse than the mental health problem itself.

Results from the campaign run in January and Febuary this year show that 'Time to Change' is already making a difference with 57% of people who saw the advertising said that their opinions of people with mental health problems had changed as a direct result.

A further burst of campaign activity will begin on 13 July and continue throughout the summer and autumn, with more planned for 2010 and 2011.

Comic relief's grant also goes towards Time to Change's Education not Discrimination scheme, which provides training around mental health stigma to future professionals who will have a significant impact on the lives of people with mental health issues. So far the programme has worked with four medical schools and PGCE courses at 5 universities to train over 2000 students.