Time to Change's mission to end stigma and discrimination
In spite of great progress, there are still many myths and preconceptions about mental illness.Ten years ago Rethink Mental Illness together with Mind set up Time to Change, our anti-stigma campaign. In this blog, Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change (pictured), looks at how Time to Change has captured the public's attention, and how we still need your help to challenge the public discussion on mental illness.
In the last ten years we have seen some incredible progress in the fight against mental health stigma and discrimination, but we still have a long way to go. Time to Change, a growing social movement run by Rethink Mental Illness and Mind, is working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. Since we’ve been running we’ve reached millions of people and begun to improve attitudes and behaviour.
But conditions like schizophrenia and personality disorders are still widely misunderstood, and deeply damaging myths persist. Last year, Rethink Mental Illness found that 26% of people believe that schizophrenia definitely makes you violent, when in fact this is untrue, and people with the illness are more likely to be a victim of crime than a perpetrator.
These misconceptions can make it harder for people to find employment, build relationships and access help - ultimately it can exasperate their condition and has the potential to be life threatening. Despite the progress we’ve made, we know that many people still don’t consider mental health relevant to them. They don’t believe mental health problems are likely to affect them or people they know.
But the reality is that mental health can affect anyone, in fact 1 in 4 of us will fight a mental health problem in any given year and suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under the age of 40.
That’s why the work of Time to Change is so important. With the right support from those around them, people can recover and have equal opportunities in all areas of life. Encouraging people to open up to mental health – to talk and to listen – is the first step.
As a social movement our voice gets stronger and louder as we grow in numbers. We have thousands of champions across the country who are campaigning in their communities, our network of hubs bring local organisations together to change attitudes in their area while our pledged employers and schools focus on their employees and young people creating places where people can open up about mental health.
Together they are sharing their stories and showing people that it’s good to talk about mental health – in fact it’s healthy. Join our growing social movement and play your part in making stigma and discrimination a thing of the past.