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Mental health campaign gets £20million boost

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Time to Change, the campaign run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness to change the way everyone thinks and acts about mental health problems, is set to continue thanks to a £20m investment from Department of Health, Comic Relief and Big Lottery Fund.

Since the campaign began in 2008 3.4 million people’s attitudes have improved towards mental health and there’s been a 5.6% increase in the number of people who experience a mental health problem reporting no discrimination in any area of their life.

According to the campaign, more people than ever before feel able to speak out about their experiences and in doing so are helping everyone to open up to mental health. Furthermore, more than 800 schools have woven mental health into lessons and assemblies, and nearly 400 employers are implementing plans for improving mental health in their workforce.

While this progress in improving attitudes, raising awareness and opening up more conversations has been significant, it’s not universal. For some key sections of the wider population misunderstanding about mental illness is still rife, notably men and lower socio-economic groups. Suicide is the leading cause of death in men under the age of 45 and, every day, 13 families lose a father, a son, a brother, a partner to suicide. Meanwhile amongst young people, self-harm and eating disorders are at an all-time peak.

Jo Loughran, Interim Director of Time to Change, said: “We know that the attitudes of others stop the one in four of us who experience a mental health problem from seeking the help and support we need. Since Time to Change began we’ve made real progress in transforming public attitudes and empowering thousands of people to tackle discrimination but we’ve always said that this is the work of a generation and there’s still more work to be done.

“Too many people are left feeling worthless and ashamed because of their mental health problem and with this continued investment our growing movement of individuals, communities, schools and organisations can put an end to this.”

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