October 10, 2015

This live blog will be updated through the day. 

9.05am:

Today we're excited to say that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be meeting with a group of young Time to Change champions to talk about stigma and discrimination in mental health. It's exciting to see such high profile support for such an important issue. 

Every year, 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem, that's three in every classroom. Yet as a society we often worry about having that conversation. Why? Just like our physical health, mental health is a part of life. Sometimes we're well and sometimes we're not, it's nobody's fault and as a society we need to make sure that each generation grows up in a world where it's ok to talk about it. Schools can play a vital role in changing that conversation, we have lots of free resources available if you want to get your school involved. 

Through the movement to end stigma we've come a long way, but with 9 in 10 people who live with mental health problems reporting having been treated negatively as a result, there's still so much more we can do to change public attitudes for the next generation. 

For the 3 in 4 who haven't yet experienced a mental health problem, it's ok not to be an expert, sometimes it's not about the grand gestures and having all the answers, it can just as importantly be about the small things. About being there for someone you care about who's going through a difficult time. Discover the small things you can do to support someone this World Mental Health Day.

10.21am:

We're here with young Time to Change champion, Vicki, awaiting an exciting visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We asked why she feels today's visit is so important:

Q: Why do you think it’s important that the Duke and Duchess are here today? 

"They're the perfect people to get the word out there about mental health, especially for young people. Young people are the ones that are easily closed off, especially with my sister, she would just go upstairs and shut herself away in her bedroom, I didn't know anything was wrong, I didn't know how serious it was.

Q: What's your experience of mental health problems?

Today matters to me because when my sister was ill, we didn't know, it's horrible to say but within our family I don't think we took her seriously enough, we didn't give the full support or know how bad it was. I think was the stigma. 

Q: What would your dream be for how mental health is viewed in society? 

My dream would be that everyone would be given the support that they need and would know where to get it. They would know they would be taken as people not as a diagnosis and they would be treated normally.

Young Time to Change champion, Vicki.

11.04am

We caught up with Angelique from our #smallthings campaign to find out why today matters to her:

Q: Why does today matter to you? 

"Because I feel mental health is an issue that needs to be highlighted, the more people will feel comfortable, the more people will talk about it. We need to get rid of the stigma that makes people hide in corners and what better day to do it than World Mental Health Day? I don't think we should stop here, this is the platform we need to start escalating conversations about mental health."

Q: What prompted you to take part in the Time to Change campaign?

"Because for as long as I can remember, mental health has been an important subject to me. People are shy and whisper about it, but for me it's just like a physical illness, people don't whisper about a broken arm do they? And... How do I say this? It's not a fluffy issue, you know, it's not glamorous, people don't talk about it everywhere, this is a way I can get the conversation out there. There are lots of things I could get involved in but there are so many unheard voices out there in mental health, if I can be one voice sharing my own experience then I can help."

Q: And what's your own experience?

"My own experience is when I was a teenager I had depression, then throughout my life I've supported a friend too, so I've seen both sides. I didn't know how I was going to come out of it, but with the support from family and friends I did get through it. And with my friend, I know I can't cure her, but I can be there to support her and show her people care."

Q: What would your hope be for how mental health is viewed by the general public?

"Like it's normalised, not that it's something we have to work this hard to promote, just that we talk about it in the way we do everything else. I don't want to talk about it and have people recoil or feel awkward, I want it to be normal. Also just to show that it doesn't matter where your from or what your background is, you could be affected. That message needs to get out to people."

12.02pm

Catching up with Kathryn who's here with young Time to Change champion Nikki:

Q: What are you looking forward to most about today? 

"Meeting William and Kate, supporting my sister"

Q: Why does today matter to you?

"I got involved because of Nikki, I want to make more people know about mental health. When Nikki was ill, we needed to support her, everyone should have support, I want people to understand."

12.50pm

Highlights from speeches: 

Paul Farmer, Mind CEO:

"Today is a particularly significant day as we mark the progress being made to increase awareness and understanding of mental health, and reach out to many more people who may be struggling in silence."

"Your interest and support is helping us to raise public awareness about mental health problems in a way we have never seen before. For too long mental health has been something that families did not speak about, that schools did not know how to address and workplaces would ignore. Our research has found that 9 in 10 people who have experienced mental health problems say they have faced negative treatment from others as a result. This silence or ignorance leaves people living with mental health problems alone, afraid and without the help and support that they need. We cannot let this continue."

"By helping us to put the spotlight on mental health, you are helping us to send an important and urgent message to the world that it is time to change our attitudes about mental health problems. One in four people will experience a mental health problem, so that means every family, every school and every college, and every workplace. Today’s event marks a coming of age for mental health-it is coming out of the shadows and now beginning to receive the attention it truly deserves."

"We can all take action to understand mental health and to be there for the people in our lives. It’s time we cut through the fear and embarrassment and started to talk about it. Sometimes it is the small things that make a real difference. Just picking up the phone, sending a text, taking a loved one out for a cup of tea can show that you are there. We can all make a difference."

Vithuja, Time to Change champion:

"I was first diagnosed with depression aged 12 since then I’ve been sectioned, hospitalised. I’ve hit the worst of the worst, where life no longer felt a viable option. A Time to Change survey revealed that 26% of young people wanted to give up on life because of the negative reactions they’ve experiences. I’m one of them."

"I went to a grammar school, where grades seemed to be all there were to a person. I wanted someone to notice, to offer help, to support me; instead I got into trouble, seen as problematic and they chose to turn a blind eye."

"At home, my family couldn’t understand, I had a perfect life, so why was I so miserable, initially it was put down to teenage hormones. I’ve been laughed at, shouted at, mocked. When relatives have been in hospital, they’ve had visitors, reassurance from family and friends and yet when I fell ill, it was swept under the carpet."

"When I first found out about Time to Change I was shy about getting involved given the stigma and discrimination I had faced."

"For a long time, depression was the only thing I knew, talking about it has helped me separate myself from the illness. I had always conformed to the idea that having a mental illness is something to be ashamed of and hide, but actually being open, saying ‘yes, I have depression but so what?’ has really helped me in my recovery and that's why I'm here today. To celebrate how far we’ve come and to remind everyone that it’s okay to talk without being afraid or ashamed."

Make this World Mental Health Day count, become a Time to Change Champion and discover the small things you can do to make a big difference >

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Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.