Mental Illness

Department of Health written question – answered on 11th March 2015.

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Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow Liberal Democrat, Sutton and Cheam

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department has taken to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination as a result of signing up to the Time to Change Pledge.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

In January 2014, we published Closing the Gap: Priorities for Essential Change in Mental Health. This set out 25 of the most important changes that we want to make in the next few years to improve the lives of people with mental health problems and help reduce health inequalities. This included reducing stigma and discrimination around mental health.

The Department is funding the Time to Change campaign from 2011/12 to 2015/16. This funding enables Time to Change to work with people with experience of mental health problems to challenge attitudes and discrimination; run social marketing campaigns and work with local and regional partners on community-led activity.

In addition, on the 10 October 2014, World Mental Health Day, I issued a challenge to FTSE 100 companies to sign up to Time to Change, highlighting the key role employers play in tackling mental health problems in the workplace and encouraging and supporting people back into work, as well as supporting overall employee wellbeing.

The Department provides Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for its staff. This course is delivered by Departmental staff who have been trained by MHFA England. The course provides staff with an understanding of a wide range of mental health issues/conditions. It provides staff with skills to feel confident to talk to individuals about mental health and provide assistance on a first aid basis. Through the course, the trainee will also gain knowledge of support services available and be able to signpost to appropriate support, where needed. The course encourages people to talk about mental health and one of its aims is to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination.

The Department takes part in the Time to Change Time to Talk Day. This is advertised on the staff intranet which provides details of the campaign and information on the wider work of Time to Change. Staff drop-in sessions are also held where staff can talk to Health and Wellbeing staff and MHFA trainers about mental health issues.

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