British artists have put paintbrush to paper to support England’s biggest anti-stigma programme, Time to Change, and are encouraging people to be more supportive of someone experiencing a mental health problem. This comes as new research has shown that only one in four people1 who have experienced a mental health problem have received a get well card during their illness, even though 80%1 say that a card would be a good way for others to let them know they are thinking of them.
Contemporary British artist Stuart Semple and cartoonist Stephen Collins have created exclusive ‘get well soon’ cards, which will be used as part of the Time to Change campaign, run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, alongside advertising running throughout February.
Every year, millions of cards are sent to support friends and family members when they’re unwell. Yet, although 79%2 of the public would consider sending a card to someone with a physical health problem, only 50% would do the same if it related to mental health. Around a third (32%)2 wouldn’t know if it were appropriate.
Both artists have used their unique style to explore how we approach conversations on physical health problems compared to mental illness. These new designs highlight the importance of staying in contact and being supportive when friends and family members experience a mental health problem.
Leading British artist Stuart Semple says: ‘There is still so much silence around the subject of mental health, yet it’s something that can affect all of us at some point in our lives. People don’t seem to receive get well cards when they have a mental health problem and it’s a shame that it’s still such a taboo subject. Whether it’s a note of support, or just reminding someone you care, these small things can make a big difference. I hope the designs I've made help those who receive them know that they are loved and that there are people around them that care. That's such a simple yet powerful thing.’
Illustrator Stephen Collins, who is best known for his regular cartoons in the Guardian and Prospect magazine, says: ‘The idea behind my design is how people experiencing depression often say they feel like they're “underwater”, with the normal world going on above, so I wanted to create an optimistic image based around that. As one in four people experience a mental health problem in any given year, it is something we should all become more open about so that we can help those around us who need our support.’
Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change says:‘When you’re dealing with a mental health problem, you need the support of friends and family more than ever. But people can feel awkward around the subject and unsure of what to do. Sending a card is a simple way of letting someone know you’re there for them. We often hear people say that when they are off work with a physical illness they are inundated with cards and flowers, but with a mental health problem, there is only silence. We should be treating people no differently.’
The new card designs will be available as downloadable e-cards on the Time to Change website from today. Find out how to start your conversation at http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/talk-about-mental-health or tweet #timetotalk.
1The Time to Change survey was conducted online using SurveyMonkey between 19th December and 31st December 2012 and was completed by a total of 1,429 people in the UK with experience of a mental health problem. A link to the survey was distributed via Time to Change Facebook fans and on Twitter.
2 YouGov survey on behalf of Time to Change is taken from fieldwork undertaken between 26th and 28th November 2012. Total sample size was 2,005 adults. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
Notes to Editors
Time to Change
Time to Change is England's most ambitious programme to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The programme is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and funded by the Department of Health and Comic Relief. For more information go to www.time-to-change.org.uk
Department of Health
On 2 February 2011 the Department of Health launched No health without mental health, a cross-government mental health outcomes strategy for people of all ages which has the twin aims of keeping people well and improving their mental health and, when people are not well, improving their outcomes through high-quality services.
The strategy is based on six shared objectives, developed with partners from across the mental health sector, and focuses on ‘Recovery’ and the reduction of stigma and discrimination as overarching themes.
To help deliver the objective to reduce the stigma faced by people with mental health problems, in 2011 the Department agreed to support Time to Change, the anti-stigma campaign run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. The Department of Health is providing the campaign with up to £16 million of funding together with a further £4 million from Comic Relief. This funding will help Time to Change continue their work until March 2015.
Comic Relief is committed to supporting people living with mental health problems. The projects Comic Relief funds ensure people with mental health problems get their voices heard in the decisions that affect their lives and get the help they need to recover. Comic Relief also helps people to promote their rights and reduce the stigma and discrimination they face so that they feel more included in society. The £4 million grant to Time to Change is the second time the charity has awarded Time to Change its largest UK grant and is part of Comic Relief's long standing commitment to this issue. For more information go to www.comicrelief.com