THE Government is joining forces with Comic Relief and two mental health charities to help tackle mental health stigma and discrimination in Yorkshire and the Humber.
This follows a recent survey, which found that 83% of people with mental health issues in the region have experienced stigma and discrimination related to their condition.
To help put a stop to this, the Government and Comic Relief have announced up to £20m of funding for the England-wide Time to Change programme run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
Time to Change runs various campaigns in Yorkshire and the Humber such as encouraging people with mental health problems to speak out about their experiences at events and festivals, as well educating people about mental health through arts and multimedia activities.
This is the first time that the Time to Change programme has received Government funding – up to £16m. It will also receive £4m from Comic Relief – the second time the charity has awarded Time to Change its largest UK grant.
Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said: “One in four of us will experience some form of mental health problem during our lives. Unfortunately people often have to cope with stigma and discrimination alongside their condition in their families, their classrooms and their work places.”
“Coping with a mental health condition is difficult enough without the added burden of overcoming discrimination too.
“That’s why I am committing up to £16m over the next three and a half years to Time to Change to help fight the negative attitudes people have towards mental health conditions.”
Comic Relief Chief Executive, Kevin Cahill, said: “Comic Relief has a long standing commitment to helping people with mental health problems across the UK and has been working on this particular campaign since 2007.
“Four years on we’re really starting to see some positive results but we understand change takes time and this next phase of the campaign will build on the success to date and the important lessons we have learned so far.
“All too often people with mental health problems are blighted by the prejudice, ignorance and fear.”
Time to Change Director, Sue Baker, added: “Stigma and discrimination ruin lives and prevent people with mental health problems using their full potential and playing an active part in society.
“We have worked hard over the last four years to secure the beginnings of change in society and have seen robust evidence of a reduction in discrimination.
“But it takes more than four years to overturn decades of prejudice – this is the work of a generation.
“Mind and Rethink Mental Illness are grateful for this new funding which will make a difference to the lives of millions of people.”
The funding will help Time to Change continue its work until March 2015.
It will fund testing new approaches to tackling mental health stigma and discrimination among children and young people along with specific work with the African Caribbean community.