The Department recognises that the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental illness is a major social problem. People with mental health problems are one of the most excluded social groups in society, with fewer than a quarter in employment. They can find themselves excluded from education, health care and community participation. People with mental illness who disclose their condition can find themselves shunned by neighbours and colleagues while some do not disclose their illness to family and friends. For many people with mental illness, a diagnosis of mental illness can have a worse impact upon their lives than their symptoms.
The Department is funding a five-year programme, Shift, through the Care Services Improvement Programme to tackle the stigma and discrimination which surrounds mental illness. Shift is working with various bodies, and its focus this year is on the media and employers. On World Mental Health day on
The Department and Shift are working with the mental health charity sector consortium, Moving People, which has recently won £18 million from the Big Lottery and Comic Relief to run a four-year anti-stigma and mental health promotion campaign. The details of how the Government will support this initiative, which involves Mind, Rethink, Mental Health Media and the Institute of Psychiatry, are being formulated.