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New consortium wins £18 million bid to fight growing problem of mental health discrimination

JULY 18, 2007

"We're 20 years behind race discrimination…We have to take this on." 
Person with mental health problems, March 2007

'Moving People' promises to change the culture of mental health forever in a ground-breaking bid to battle the growing problem of mental health stigma and discrimination, aiming to reach some 30 million people across England. Today, the Big Lottery Fund has announced an award of £16 million from its Well-being programme, matched by a further £2 million from Comic Relief (1), giving an historic opportunity to Moving People, a mental health charity partnership led by Mental Health Media, Mind, Rethink and the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.

People with mental health problems are one of the most excluded groups in society:
  • 84% experiencing problems in getting jobs, mortgages, healthcare, friendships, relationships (Mind survey, 2004).
  • 55% of young people (NUS and Rethink, 2001) wouldn’t want anyone else to know they had mental health problems.
  • 49% of people with mental health problems have been harassed or attacked (2)
  • 33% of this group report having been dismissed or forced to resign from jobs (3)
Yet 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem. New research (4) shows that attitudes in England towards mental health have worsened further, contrasting with Scotland, where a strong anti-stigma campaign has changed attitudes:

17% increase in belief that the mentally ill are prone to violence in England, up to 34%, compared to drop of more than 50% from 32% to 15% in Scotland
Only 65% of people now believe that people with mental health problems should have the same right to a job as anyone else
Only 42% of Londoners disagree that 'One of the main causes of mental illness is a lack of self-discipline and willpower'
32% of Londoners think 'There is something about people with mental illness that makes it easy to tell them from normal people'
The £18 million 4-year programme, mental health's biggest ever voluntary-sector led initiative, is evidence-based from best international practice (5), placing the expertise of people with mental health problems at the centre of all activity. It includes:

  • a nationwide anti-stigma campaign, including TV advertising, backed by detailed information resources including a dedicated website
  • 28 England-wide local community physical activity projects, backing the national campaign by bringing together people with and without mental health experience, from boxing and football to country walks
  • 'Get Moving' - mass participation events focusing on mental and physical well-being, building up to the 2012 Olympics
  • 'Open-Up' - locally delivered programme to empower people with mental health problems to challenge the daily discrimination that they face
  • Training and education programme targeting around 10,000 leaders and professionals who have the power to influence key sectors (eg medical students/trainee teachers) to help them change current discriminatory behaviour
  • Legal challenges, helping change discriminatory legislation and policy

Mental Health Media Chief Executive Maggie Gibbons said: “People with mental health problems today can expect to face huge prejudice and misunderstanding. That is not acceptable. This programme will put people with direct experience right at the heart of bringing about lasting change.”

Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: “Attitudes to mental health have been stuck in the Victorian asylum. This fantastic opportunity is our chance to start to change society's views, giving people with mental health problems equal rights and breaking down barriers through a host of targeted activities. The Well-being programme and Comic Relief's support will enable people with mental health problems to tackle one of the biggest issues they face today."

Rethink Chief Executive Paul Jenkins said: “The world of mental health has been silent for too long in the face of blatant stigma and discrimination. We will be using the latest social marketing techniques to ensure that over the next four years everyone is aware of the issues and is encouraged to become part of the solution.”

Professor Graham Thornicroft Head of the Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, said: “ This is by far the most ambitious programme ever undertaken in England to include people with mental illness right in the mainstream of society. We are delighted to have this opportunity to move rapidly towards the eradication of stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness - a fundamental social change that is long overdue."

28 local physical activity projects - a flavour
"Joining Boxercise has improved my life and given me confidence to believe in myself - I'm feeling better than I have done for years." Tony, service user

The projects involve local Mind associations (LMAs) and Rethink partners. Examples:

  • Croydon LMA - 'Boxercise' course of tuition from three-times world champion Duke McKenzie
  • Green Schools (Rethink, Derbyshire) - young people from 3 secondary schools will work on conservation projects alongside people with mental health problems
  • Brent Healthy Minds in Healthy Bodies (Brent LMA) - activities such as football involving QPR, yoga, walking and gardening
  • Eden LMA - activities including climbing, sailing, environmental and conservation work in Lake District
  • An extensive 6-month consultation period begins in Autumn 07, including a roadshow to gather opinions across the country.
For further information
Contact Mind press office: T: 0208 522 1743; Out of hours: 07850 788514; ISDN line available for interviews. For general information, please email:

Notes to editors
The Big Lottery Fund award is part of today's Wellbeing programme announcement of over £126 million to help communities build healthier lifestyles. It aims to promote physical activity, healthy eating and improve mental health across England.
Mind, Not Just Sticks & Stones, 1996
Read & Baker, 1996
Attitudes to Mental Illness in England 2007, CSIP/SHiFT July 2007
Moving People is built on a powerful evidence base developed in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland of what works.
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