The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended the Olympic Park in Stratford to officially launch the new Heads Together campaign to end the stigma around mental health. The campaign aims to build on the great work that is already taking place across the country, to ensure that people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and that stigma no longer prevents people getting the help they need.
Kate Nightingale, Head of Communications at Time to Change – the anti-stigma campaign run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, says:
“It’s really exciting that their Royal Highnesses are joining the growing movement to change the conversation about mental health. It’s a significant milestone in the fight against stigma, which still ruins too many lives. While things are changing for the better, there is so much more to be done to get to the point where everyone feels able to speak out and seek help when they need it the most.
“In a recent survey we found that over three quarters of people with mental health problems say the judgement they face from others is as bad as or even worse than the illness itself. Tragically, more than a quarter of young people told us that stigma attached to their mental health problem made them want to give up on life.
“Since Time to Change started in 2007 we’ve improved the attitudes of more than three million people in England. The royal focus on this urgent issue will help to reach even more people with the message that we need to talk about mental health and bring forward the day when no one with a mental health problem needs to fear judgement or shame.”
Time to Change highlights their statistics on mental health stigma to show why the new Heads Together campaign is so important.
In a Time to Change survey of more than 7000 people :
- Nearly 1 in 5 people say they face stigma as a result of their mental health problem every week.
- Stigma affects every area of life including friendships (64%), family life (57%), work (56%) and when dating or when in a relationship (38%).
- Nearly two thirds of people are left feeling isolated (64%), worthless (61%) and ashamed (60%) because of the stigma and discrimination they have faced.
- A quarter of people said that stigma had stopped them from going to school, college or university.
- 65% of people said that the stigma and discrimination they face is as bad as or worse than the illness itself.
- 1 in 5 people wait over a year to tell their family and friend about their mental health problem.
- When asked whether the stigma they faced has stopped them from doing anything, 67% said attending social events, 48% said looking for or returning to work and 36% said having a relationship.
A separate Time to Change survey looked at the impact of stigma on young people’s lives and found:
- A quarter of young people (26%) have said that the stigma attached to their mental illness has made them want to give up on life.
- 27% of young people with mental health problems under the age of 25 say that the discrimination they face as a result has also made them give up on their life’s ambitions.
- Much of the stigma that young people face comes from those who you would expect to turn to first at a time of need, including friends (70%), siblings (35%) and parents (57%)
Despite these statistics, attitudes are slowly starting to improve…
The latest National Attitudes to Mental Illness survey, published by Time to Change, tracks how public attitudes are changing over time. Questions were also asked to measure the public’s intended behaviour. It found:
- Between 2007 when Time to Change started and 2014 public attitudes towards people with mental health problems have improved by 8.3%, which equates to 3.4 million people with improved attitudes.
- Levels of reported and intended behaviour have reached their highest level with more people willing to:
- Live with someone with a mental health problem (66%)
- Live nearby to someone with a mental health problem (80%)
- Continue a relationship with a friend who had a mental health problem (89%)
- Work with someone with a mental health problem (76%)
In the same survey of 7000 Time to Change supporters, progress was also evident:
- Over half of respondents (57%) say it’s easier to talk about mental health problems than in previous years. 60% of people also felt better once they did start to talk about their mental health problems, saying they felt relieved and like a weight had been lifted.