Jo Mueller investigates how parents could hold the key to tackling mental health stigma.
The Time to Change campaign is the biggest mental health stigma busting campaign in the UK, receiving an estimated £21 million between 2007 and 2011. Given this level of investment I would hope it made significant differences to stigma surrounding mental health problems. The truth is that it hasn’t, and in some areas of stigma, prejudice has increased.
It’s a sobering thought that, for many people who use mental health services, other people’s reactions cause more distress than their original problems. And attitudes may even be getting worse. A recent report from the Department of Health found that whereas in 1997, 92% of people questioned agreed that ‘we need to adopt a more tolerant attitude towards people with mental illness’, in 2011 only 86% thought that we need to be more tolerant. Worryingly, young people appeared to be the most prejudiced.