Sharing the learning from England’s biggest mental health anti-stigma and discrimination programme

2007 - 2011

Time to Change is England’s most ambitious programme to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The programme has been running since October 2007, and our nationwide social marketing campaign, which aimed to change attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems, launched in January 2009. These legacy materials have been produced to document our journey. We want to share our achievements and the lessons we’ve learned across those first four years.

The first phase of work

The first phase ran until September 2011 and was a programme of 35 projects, funded with £16m from the Big Lottery Fund and £4.5m from Comic Relief, and evaluated by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London. The programme also benefited from the secondment of two members of staff from the Department of Health to work on strategic goals for two years. The Department of Health also funded the annual National Attitudes Survey, which allowed us to measure the attitudes of the general public towards people with mental health problems. The second phase of work, which started in October 2011, is funded by the Department of Health and Comic Relief.

Time to Change is a partnership run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. In the first four years the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London was an evaluation partner. Their role was specifically to evaluate the activity and show how effective the programme was.

The legacy materials have been created with a diverse audience in mind: pick and mix the parts that interest you. Learning has been divided into the following areas:

The model for Time to Change was based on a combination of learning from the partner organisations and lessons drawn from similar campaigns, including Like Minds, Like Mine in New Zealand and See Me in Scotland. Time to Change has been shown to be a cost-effective way of changing behaviour on a mass scale. Future work will build on what we’ve achieved and learned in the first phase. To find out more about Phase 2 work, which includes work with children and young people, a particular focus on Black and Minority Ethnic audiences, and a grants scheme to fund projects that bring people with different experiences of mental health problems together, look here.

In just four years the programme inspired and built on a movement for change. Thousands of individuals and hundreds of organisations across the country got involved, running a variety of activities to challenge stigma and discrimination. Even a programme this size could not have achieved so much impact without the vital support of these organisations and their contributions were crucial. Time to Change created a new public space in which the issue of mental health could be openly discussed. We began to see a positive shift in attitudes and a reduction in discrimination. We also helped to empower people with mental health problems to speak out and challenge discrimination.

For more information on what we mean by stigma and discrimination, take a look here.

In early 2013, the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London will be publishing a special Time to Change supplementary through the British Journal of Psychiatry. This will contain in-depth detail about the academic evaluation of the impact of Time to Change. Additionally, a selection of reports, documents and videos produced by Time to Change in the first four years are available online.