In the run up to World Mental Health Day Time to Change, England’s biggest mental health anti-stigma programme, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, comments on The Sunday Times columnist India Knight’s piece, which discusses celebrities speaking out about their mental health problems.

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, the anti-stigma programme run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, said:

“Being famous doesn’t make you immune to depression, just like it doesn’t make you immune to any other health issue. Celebrities speaking out about their experiences of mental health problems can encourage others to seek help and support, and change public attitudes about the issue. Hearing from someone in the public eye who appears ‘to have it all’ can help others to feel able to say ‘I’ve gone through that too’. And this is the point – everyone should be able to speak out and not fear any reprisal, regardless of their public profile.

“We want to see more people speaking openly about their experiences - famous and not famous.  It isn’t helpful to criticise ‘misery lit’, and suggesting that people are ‘cashing in’ on their experiences will only serve to silence the discussion.

“Time to Change and thousands of others, including celebrities, have been campaigning for years to challenge negative attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental health problems and we are starting to see changes emerge, but sadly there is still a long way to go until stigma is completely eradicated.”

Read blogs in response to the article from Time to Change Ambassador Alastair Campbell and Guardian journalist Mark Rice-Oxley.


Notes to Editors

Mind surveyed around 2,000 members of the public last year and found that actually most people are not cynical about celebrities speaking out about mental health. When asked ‘why do you think some celebrities speak publicly in the media about their mental health problems?’ 53% believed they did it to encourage others to seek help and support for mental health problems and 52% agreed it was to change public attitudes about mental health problems. Only 14% thought that celebrities talked about mental health problems to be ‘fashionable’.

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