The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg made a significant public announcement last week addressing the stigma and discrimination that people with mental health problems face. On the same day, the anti-stigma programme Time to Change released the results of its biggest ever survey of people’s experiences of stigma, to launch its latest advertising campaign. You can view their latest TV advert on our Facebook Page.

The survey of almost 5,000 people with mental health problems shows that over a third (34%) say they come up against stigma and discrimination on a monthly or weekly basis. Shockingly, one in ten people even say they face it every single day.

Time to Change, which is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, also found that over half of people said that stigma and discrimination was as bad as or worse than the illness itself (58%).

Other findings include:

  • 28% waited for more than a year to tell their family about their mental health problem
  • 22% waited more than a year to talk to their GP about their mental health problem
  • 44% said that stigma and discrimination has stopped them from looking for or returning to work
  • 61% of people have experienced stigma and discrimination from friends and in their social life.

However, as public attitudes have started to improve the survey also shows signs of improvement with 61% of people saying they now find it easier to talk about their mental illness compared to previous years, and over a third (34%) reporting that when they did finally tell someone, the response was better than they expected.

The new findings are released at the start of the new advertising campaign and in the run up to the first national Time to Talk Day being held on 6 February which aims to spark a million conversations about mental health. Time to Talk Day is part of Time to Change’s latest campaign – It’s time to talk, which highlights the little things that make a big difference to someone going through a mental health problem – such as sending a text, having a chat over a cup of tea, or giving them a call.

The campaign is working with employers and supporters to generate a million conversations on the day – whether this is at work, in school, on the playing fields and terraces, in churches, at social events or at home – to ensure that the message is heard by all communities and all ages. 

Time to Change Director Sue Baker said, “These new figures show that stigma and discrimination are still life limiting and for some people, who feel they can’t ever talk about mental health, life threatening.  What is encouraging to see is the number of people who feel it is getting easier to talk more openly about their mental health, and that when they do the response is more positive than expected.

“However we have a long way to go until we can talk about mental health and expect others to respond in the same way that they would towards someone with another common health issue like cancer, diabetes or asthma. Find out how you can get involved or register your interest at”

For more information on getting involved in the Time to Talk Day on 6 February and for tips, tools and conversation starters go to or tweet #TimetoTalk to find out more.