We’re delighted to announce that Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, has been recognised with an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2017.

Sue set up Time to Change in 2007 with charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness to challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by people experiencing mental health problems. Since then it has grown into a national movement with thousands of community champions and online supporters who have reached millions of people across England.  She has also helped set up other anti-stigma campaigns in the UK and other parts of the world.

In the years that Time to Change has been running we’ve begun to see an improvement in people’s attitudes and behaviours towards those of us with mental health problems. Between 2008 and 2014 3.4 million people had improved their attitudes (an 8.3% change) and average levels of reported discrimination fell from 41.6% to 28.4%.

Rethink Mental Illness Chief Executive Mark Winstanley said: “I’m thrilled that Sue has been recognised for her outstanding leadership of the Time to Change movement. I’ve witnessed the vital role she plays in delivering a real change in society’s perception of people with mental illness, reducing stigma and normalising discussions about mental health.  She has literally helped to change our country for the better and in doing so improved the lives of many people.”

Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: “Sue is a phenomenal campaigner who has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of mental health for more than 20 years. It is in large part thanks to Sue that the nation is now more comfortable talking about mental health whether it’s in workplaces, schools or in living rooms.  Under Sue’s expert leadership, Time to Change is making a tangible difference to people’s lives with people’s reported experience of discrimination reducing and more people having the confidence to come forward and seek help when they need it. Sue thoroughly deserves this honour and everyone at Mind offers their heartfelt thanks for all her hard work.”   

Some of the achievements of Time to Change over the past decade include:

  • 473 organisations have now signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge, demonstrating their commitment to mental health and wellbeing and addressing stigma and discrimination within the workplace. This has included 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 Government department, universities, sports clubs, and councils.
  • Worked with more than 4,300 schools to help pupils understand mental health issues, support one another better and improve attitudes.
  • The annual Time to Talk Day, now entering its fifth year, has generated millions of conversations and helped people be more open about mental health and ready to listen.
  • Been part of the successful campaign to get Asda and Tesco to withdraw offensive ‘mental patient’ Halloween costumes from their shelves.

In October 2016 it was announced that Time to Change had secured funding from the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund to deliver the programme until 2021.

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For further information, please contact Julie Evans at J.Evans@time-to-change.org.uk or 07789 721 966

About Sue Baker

Before heading up Time to Change Sue worked for the leading mental health charity in New Zealand where she set up marketing, campaigns and fundraising programmes and supported the ground-breaking campaign to address the discrimination experienced by people with mental health problems, using human rights and mental health promotion models.  She also worked for nine years as Head of Media at Mind, in particular carrying out the UK’s first survey of the extent and impact of discrimination (in the mid-90s) and working to improve media representation of mental health issues.

She has been a Director of a leading substance misuse charity where she was responsible for marketing treatment services, delivering business growth and developing marketing and fundraising. And she co-founded the Global Anti-stigma Alliance in 2012, with 20 countries as members.

She lived in London for almost 20 years before moving to Whitstable on the North Kent coastline. She is married and enjoys photography, nature and gardening, and ‘light’ runs along the beach listening to seagulls.

Sue studied marketing and advertising at the University of the West of England and in her career has worked in charities, councils and in PR and advertising agencies.

About Time to Change
Time to Change is a growing movement of people changing how we all think and act about mental health problems. Our voice is stronger and louder thanks to funding by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund. Our campaign is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and thousands more organisations have joined us to make change happen.

For more information go to www.time-to-change.org.uk.