Time to Change to close following government funding cut

Time to Change, England’s globally respected mental health anti-stigma and behaviour change campaign, will close on March 31 2021.

A spokesman for Time to Change said when the campaign was set up 15 years ago by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness mental health problems were truly taboo.

Headlines in national newspapers mocked people living with mental illness, many people were afraid to speak about their experiences to their closest friends and family, and the vast majority of people needing time off sick with a mental health problem would tell their employer they had a physical health problem instead.

Since then 5.4m people have improved their attitudes towards those living with mental health problems, thanks to the more than 9,000 champions with experience of mental health problems, 1,600 employers, 3,000 secondary schools and network of regional hubs that joined Time to Change’s social movement.

While research shows people’s willingness to live, work and continue a relationship with someone experiencing a mental health problem has also increased by 11.6%.

The campaign initially received funding from Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund, with the Department of Health and Social Care also contributing from 2011 onwards.

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said that, although there is work still to be done, the government has confirmed it is not in a position to fund the programme into the future.

‘More than 13m adults in England, that’s one in four of us, will experience a mental health problem each year.

‘Thanks to the Time to Change movement, we have seen an outstanding improvement in the way we all think and act about mental health. Many more of us are now comfortable disclosing a mental health problem without shame or fear of judgement.

‘Ultimately this is the very first step in getting the help, support and treatment we need and deserve.

‘Time to Change has created a strong legacy where more people living with mental health problems are able to live their lives to the full without stigma damaging their relationships, education, career and ambitions.

‘But despite phenomenal progress, our research shows that certain groups have not yet felt the benefit of improvements in public attitudes or behaviour change, including those living with less understood diagnoses such as schizophrenia or people from black and minority ethnic communities.

‘We had hoped to continue to fight for equity and end discrimination, working with these communities and others whose lives continue to be severely impacted.

‘Sadly, we will not be able to carry out this vital work but will spend the coming months making sure that our ambition is driven forward within the work of Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.’

A spokesman for the campaign said in the remaining months, Time to Change will continue to encourage people to be more open to mental health to help end the isolation, shame and worthlessness that too many of us feel when experiencing a mental health problem.

The campaign will continue to deliver two peaks of national activity: the Ask Twice campaign in November and Time to Talk Day on February 4 2021.

Over the next few months, Time to Change will turn its attention to embedding anti-stigma outcomes into the work of Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, while continuing to highlight the importance of tackling mental health stigma and discrimination to the Government.

Photo Credit – Time to Change

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