Faith leaders discuss mental health at seminar | Time to ChangeThe Archbishop of Canterbury and the mental health anti-stigma programme Time to Change, which is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, have hosted an event for leaders from different faiths to look at ways of tackling the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems in their communities.

The seminar was held at Lambeth Palace to engage attendees including Sikh, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faith groups and address the role they play in supporting people with a mental illness to feel able to talk openly about their experiences.

The Archbishop was joined for a panel discussion by Imam Abdul Qaiyum from the East London Mosque and Bhai Shahib Mohinder Singh from the Sikh organisation Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, as well as Time to Change Director Sue Baker, Bryony Bratchell from Time to Change’s Young People Panel and the Minister of State for Care Services Norman Lamb. Following this, group workshops were designed to get people thinking about the practicalities of how they might go about tackling the taboo around mental illness.

In moving speeches Bhai Shahib Mohinder Singh talked about his personal experiences of depression, panic attacks and anxiety at a young age.  He said: “No one should be stigmatised, we are all god’s children”. Iman Abdul Qaiyum went on to say “We have a duty to help and support people with mental health problems. We need to continue this good work of Time to Change.”

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: “We know that one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year and it will affect many areas of our lives. Given that faith and places of worship have important roles to play in many communities, the Time to Change programme wants to work directly with these groups to tackle stigma and discrimination, and encourage more open conversation about mental health.”

Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said: “The fact is that people within our communities face the challenges of mental illness just as much as others do, and we as people of faith have the profoundest possible obligation to show our faith in all those who are part of our communities – not stigmatising, not excluding, not suspecting – and by showing our faith in people who are part of our communities of faith, showing faith in human beings generally and pushing that vision outwards towards our whole society.”

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For more information please email Hayley Richardson, Time to Change Senior Media Officer, or call 0208 2152 358/ 07789 721 966

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. 

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
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