People left feeling ‘worthless and ashamed’ due to mental health stigma

A survey of more than 7,000 people with mental health problems shows that nearly two thirds are left feeling isolated (64%), worthless (61%) and ashamed (60%) because of the stigma and discrimination they have faced.

The findings are released on a day when the nation is asked to have more open conversations about mental health in order to tackle this stigma, called Time to Talk Day (4 February). The day is organised by the Time to Change campaign, which is run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Despite the devastating effects of stigma, the survey ­– the biggest of its kind – found progress has been made with over half of respondents (57%) saying it’s easier to talk about mental health problems than in previous years. Sixty percent 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.   

This is why Time to Change is urging the nation to have more open conversations about mental health and to start this on Time to Talk Day, when thousands of others will be doing the same.

People are being asked to take part in a nationwide competition to see which county can have the most conversations about mental health. Once people have had their conversations they will be asked to log them on an interactive online map, which will be updated in real time to show which counties are talking the most throughout the day.

More than a thousand organisations will be taking part including O2, Royal Mail, the FA and Everton Football Club. As well as this, 500 secondary schools alongside universities and colleges, councils, national government departments and community organisations will all be joining in. Celebrities and politicians will also be supporting the day by tweeting selfies indicating which county they’ll be talking for.

A short film is being launched online to show the kinds of conversations that can make a big difference, supported by online and radio advertising. 48,000 tea bags and coasters – encouraging people to have a cup of tea and a chat – will be handed out with the Metro newspaper at London Victoria, Liverpool Street, Waterloo, Bristol Temple Meads and Liverpool Lime Street stations. On Time to Change’s website there are tips and tools to help people have their conversations.

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said:

“This survey shows that stigma is still having a huge impact on how people feel about themselves and holding back their lives. We have got to continue to make progress, show that mental health isn’t something to be ashamed of and tackle the causes of stigma and discrimination.

“Having a day when we encourage the nation to talk about mental health collectively can give people the confidence to have these conversations and show that you don’t have to be an expert on mental health.  We need to replace silence and stigma with talking, greater understanding and support.”

Join in the conversation online using the #timetotalk

For information and to get involved in Time to Talk Day visit http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday

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For more information please contact Emma Warren, Senior Media Officer at Time to Change or call 0208 2152 341/07584 003 703. 

Notes to Editors

*Regional figures available on request

*Anyone anywhere can have a conversation about mental health on Time to Talk Day and join in online. People will be able to log their conversations in England only as the campaign is funded to work in that area. However there are equivalent campaigns in Scotland and Wales which people can get involved in:

* For access to a range of free images to accompany mental health news stories please visit: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/getthepicture. These images have been developed by the anti-stigma campaign Time to Change, run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund.

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, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund.

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 reduce the stigma faced by people with mental health problems, the Department has been supporting Time to Change, the anti-stigma campaign run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, since 2011.

Comic Relief

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 funding of Time to Change represents Comic Relief’s largest UK grant and is part of the organisation’s long standing commitment to this issue. For more information go to www.comicrelief.com.

Big Lottery Fund

Big Lottery Fund supported the first phase of Time to Change with funding of over £20million, and in 2013 awarded the programme a further £3.6m from its Well-being programme to build on its success and work with targeted communities. Big Lottery Fund also supported the campaign’s roll out across Wales. They will be providing a further £1.1m to support the Time

to Change campaign in 2015-16.

The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 we have awarded over £6.5billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.

Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.

The Time to Change survey was conducted online using Survey Monkey between 22 December 2015 and 19 January 2016 and was completed by a total of 7,171 people in the UK with experience of a mental health problem. The survey was promoted on Time to Change, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness social media platforms.