Time to Change responds to Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement on mental health

Following the Prime Minister’s expected announcement on mental health today Time to Change welcomes the focus on doing more to support employers and schools to tackle stigma and discrimination. 

Time to Change – the campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness – has long worked with schools and workplaces on this issue as we recognise they are key to helping us improve how we all think and act about mental health.

Ahead of her speech later today where she is expected to announce measures to improve support for people with mental health problems, Theresa May has said that improving perceptions is as important. In an article in The Guardian today (09/0117) she said: “I was talking to somebody earlier today and they were making the point that in the workplace, if you break your arm and you go in with your arm in plaster or in a sling, people will come up and talk to you about it. If you have a mental health problem people are more likely to try to avoid you. We must get over the stigma.”

One in six British workers experience mental illness and people with mental health problems report that the workplace is one of the most common areas of discrimination.

Since Time to Change launched in 2007:

  • 473 organisations have signed the TTC Employer Pledge, demonstrating their commitment to addressing stigma and discrimination in the workplace. Pledged organisations include FTSE 100 companies such as Marks & Spencer, BT, E:on, Lloyds Bank, Tesco, British Gas and Unilever as well as Royal Mail, the Bank of England, every national Government department, universities, sports clubs, schools, and councils.
  • More than 4,300 secondary schools have worked with us to help pupils understand mental health issues, support one another better and improve attitudes. We’ve also worked with parents to ensure they feel equipped and have the confidence to speak to their children about mental health at home.
  • 8,000 Time to Change Champions have been campaigning in their local communities to make it easier for people to open up to mental health problems; to combat stigma, to talk and to listen.

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said:  

 “We hope the Prime Minister’s focus on mental health will lead to more action to improve support for people living with mental health problems in the workplace, in schools and in every community.

“Our supporters, communities, schools and employers are working with us to drive forward positive change in people’s attitudes and behaviour towards those of us with mental health problems. But this needs to become embedded and we want to see a more systematic approach across all communities, schools and workplaces to end generations of shame, isolation and exclusion. Our vision is that the next generation treats mental health issues no less favourably than physical health issues and that discrimination still plaguing people’s lives will be consigned to history.”

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