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Good news, and Time to Change will spend new money wisely

Posted on 10 October 2011 | 6:10am

A few months ago, I felt a little bit like a school-leaver at an interview, going into the offices of Comic Relief to plead for cash for the Time to Change campaign aimed at breaking down stigma and discrimination in mental illness.

Together with Time to Change director Sue Baker, I argued that for many, this was an area where the stigma and discrimination were often worse than the symptoms, and that the campaign was focused on one of the hardest things of all – changing attitudes. Mental illness is perhaps the last great taboo, and we need to break it down.

The Comic Relief cash-handers-outers were a very nice bunch, and their niceness has been followed through with the news, coinciding with today’s ‘World Mental Health Day’ that the funding for the next phase of the campaign has been granted. Many, many thanks.

The total granted, £20million, will see the campaign through to 2015, hopefully building on considerable progress already made. And I know people tend not to visit this site for praise of or thanks to the Tories or the Lib Dems, but the bulk of the funding is coming from the department of Health. So many, many thanks to them too.

To show you I have not gone soft, however, I will quote (approvingly) the words of Ilona Catherine from The Independent today. Like me, she welcomes the cash, and says it is great news for Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, who kicked the whole thing off. But she adds this is also the govenment ‘that has cut welfare and benefits, forced the closure of invaluable charities and services and will continue to make access to mental health services increasingly difficult for the huge number of people in great need of help and support.’

What she says is true. But for today at least, as an Ambassador for Time to Change I would like to thank the government and assure them the money will be well spent working towards these objectives.

  • That is excellent.
    Your work in this regard helps so, so many of us.
    Your balanced, contextualised view of this is inciteful.
    This morning’s cycle ride was against the wind, uphill and tough.  Akin to the past decade of mental health.
    Some people are able to believe in hope – I would view it as the greatest birthday present ever on this grim, grey day were attitudes and expectations to change in this regard.

  • Well done, Alastair and Comic Relief – it is so satisfying to hear where the cash goes. And to read tat the DoH is also stumping up a grant – well, that makes my Monday amazing!

  • It is clearly established that those with mental health problems can have severelyreduced life expectancies.
    These are life threatening illnesses.

    Would our nation tolerate keeping teenagers languising for years waiting for intervention with physical illnesses?
    one year?
    two years?
    How about three and a half years before receiving treatment for mental health problems?

    Conservatives make call over child mental health delays


    That article makes terrifying reading.

  • Richard Alexandar

    Nice one, Alastair.

  • MicheleB

    I don’t think there’s been a link to this OP and its good news 🙂

    (or perhaps one went the same way as so much Blackberry material seems to have!)

  • smith

    A total waste of money. the mentally ill have been treated appallingly by new labour and the coalition government.
    Anti Stigma is about jobs for everybody but the mentally ill, propaghanda for those justifying these jobs  whilst ruthless welfare cuts together with witchunt can do medicals and media scapegoating are the order of the day.