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£2m Red Nose Day cash boosts England's mental health anti-stigma campaign

9th June 2009

Comic Relief [1] has awarded a further £2 million grant  to Time to Change [2] - England's biggest programme to end the stigma associated with mental health issues, run by the leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink.

This takes Comic Relief's funding for the programme up to £4m.  Along with £16m from the Big Lottery Fund [3], this gives the programme a total of £20m in funding until 2011.  This is Comic Relief's biggest ever grant in the UK for a single project.

Comic Relief's grant will help to fund Time to Change's ground breaking national social marketing campaign - the most ambitious attempt ever to change the English public's attitudes towards mental health problems.  The campaign, featuring TV, press and outdoor advertising, PR and community engagement, launched in January and is fronted by Stephen Fry, Ruby Wax, Patsy Palmer and Alastair Campbell.  The campaign aims to get mental health issues onto the national agenda as the social justice issue of the 21st century.

Despite one in four people experiencing a mental health problem at some point, nine out of 10 people who have had a mental health problem report the negative impact of stigma and discrimination [4], with many saying that the stigma can be worse than the mental health problem itself.

Results from the campaign activity in January and February show that Time to Change is already making a difference - 57% of people who saw the advertising said that their opinions of people with mental health problems had improved as a direct result [5].  Although the campaign is still in its early days, these promising results helped to give Comic Relief the confidence that Time to Change has the potential to deliver major social change.  A further burst of campaign activity will begin on 13 July and continue throughout the summer and autumn, with more planned for 2010 and 2011.

Comic Relief's grant also goes towards Time to Change's Education Not Discrimination scheme, which provides training around mental health stigma to future professionals who will have a significant impact on the lives of people with mental health issues - trainee teachers, trainee head teachers and school social inclusion officers, and medical students.  So far the programme has worked with four medical schools and PGCE courses at five universities to train over 2000 students.

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, says: "Comic Relief's support for Time to Change is indicative of the growing momentum around mental health issues in the public arena.  A campaign like this has been long overdue, but now it's launched, the mainstream support for the issue has been overwhelming - with many thousands of visitors to our website and Facebook pages, and the personal backing of Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and many other MPs.  We're delighted to have the support of Comic Relief behind us, with their expertise in engaging the public in taboo issues."

Gilly Green, Head of UK Grants at Comic Relief, said: "Comic Relief has a long-term interest in funding mental health and this additional £2m to Time to Change is part of this commitment. In the current economic climate the campaign is more important than ever so people who are in difficulty can ask for help and aren't held back by stigma. Comic Relief is very proud to be part of the biggest ever England-wide attempt to make the world a more just and welcoming place for those whose lives are affected by mental ill health."

Comic Relief also produced a film highlighting the impact of mental health stigma, in collaboration with Time to Change.  The film was broadcast on Red Nose Day and can be viewed at www.time-to-change.org.uk.


1. 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 to 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 part of Comic Relief's long standing commitment to this issue. For more information go to www.comicrelief.com

2.  Time to Change is England's most ambitious programme to end the discrimination faced by people with mental health problems, and improve the nation's wellbeing.  Mind and Rethink are running the programme, funded with £16m from the Big Lottery Fund and £4m from Comic Relief, and evaluated by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College, London.  For further information go to www.time-to-change.org.uk

3. The Big Lottery Fund's support for Time to Change comes from its £165m Well-being programme, which provides funding to support the development of healthier lifestyles and to improve well-being.  The Big Lottery Fund has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004.  It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.  Full details of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888 / Out of hours: 07867 500 572 Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030 / Textphone: 08456 021 659

4.  Time to Change, Stigma Shout survey, 2008

5.  Consumer Insight tracking data for Time to Change, 2009


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Article Information

Title: £2m Red Nose Day cash boosts England's mental health anti-stigma campaign
Author: Claire Tuckey
Article Id: 11694
Date Added: 9th Jun 2009

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