“Public awareness and understanding of mental health have improved dramatically in recent years, thanks in part to campaigns like Time to Change, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. We now have a much better understanding of the fact that we all have mental health just as we all have physical health, and that we need to look after it. This is overwhelmingly a positive thing. For too long people have struggled in silence, either unaware that they can access help for the mental health problems they are experiencing, or scared to speak out because of what others might think.
“We know that every time a high profile person speaks out openly about their own experiences, it inspires others to do the same. The impact of this cannot be overestimated – we lose almost 6,000 people a year to suicide and seeking support is the first step to finding a way to manage your mental health.
“We are now starting to see the scale of unmet need. As more people come forward and seek help, NHS mental health services and other sources of support must be properly resourced so that true levels of demand can be met. We have a five-year plan for improving mental health services – the Five Year Forward View for mental Health – which comes with additional funding. The awareness raising that got the issue of mental health into the public consciousness is also what provided the mandate for this extra funding and political attention. We now need that money to reach the frontline, so that everyone with a mental health problem gets the help they need when they need it.
“The five-year plan is just the start. It will takes years of sustained investment in mental health to overturn decades of neglect. Continuing to tackle stigma and improve understanding of mental health problems is a powerful way of putting pressure on those in power to make sure mental health doesn’t fall back down the agenda.”
Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind
Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness