New mental health consortium wins £18 million bid to fight stigma in England

Discrimination and social stigma against people with mental illness are the target for a new multi-million pound campaign in England.

The scheme is called ‘Moving People’ and it aims to change the way mental illness is seen by the public at large.

The consortium behind the campaign is made up of mental health charities Mind, Rethink, Mental Health Media and the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.

Together they have won £16m from the Big Lottery Fund and a further £2m from Comic Relief to run ‘Moving People’ over four years.

The programme of events includes:

• Anti-stigma television adverts and a dedicated website

• 28 England-wide local community physical activity projects bringing together people with and without experience of mental illness

• ‘Get Moving’, a series of mass participation events focusing on mental and physical well-being, leading up to and themed around the 2012 Olympics

• ‘Open Up’, a locally delivered programme to empower people with mental ill health to challenge daily discrimination

• Training and education programmes targeting around 10,000 leaders and professionals to help them change current discriminatory behaviour

• Legal challenges, helping change legislation and policy.

The launch of ‘Moving People’ comes a week after publication of a report from the Department of Health’s anti-stigma body, Shift, claiming that prejudice against people with mental ill health in England has increased over the last decade.

Paul Farmer of Mind said: “Attitudes to mental health have been stuck in the Victorian asylum.

“This fantastic opportunity is our chance to start changing society’s views, giving people with mental health problems equal rights, and breaking down barriers through a host of targeted activities.”

‘Moving People’ will begin with a six-month public consultation beginning in the Autumn, including a roadshow to gather opinions across England.