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Stigma & Discrimination

Learn more about why we do what we do



Stigma refers to people’s attitudes and beliefs. When we make assumptions about how mental health problems will affect someone's behaviour, this makes it more likely that they will be singled out, or labelled as different, dangerous or strange, this is stigma.

Discrimination is treating someone differently from how we treat others because of their mental health, whether consciously or subconsciously.

Social Contact

“Conversations that take place between people who have lived experience of mental health problems and those who may not”.

When people talk to each other and establish common ground, we know that prejudices and assumptions are often challenged and replaced with mutual understanding and respect. This can lead to changes in attitudes and behaviours.

14 Years of Change

Since Time To Change (TTC) began in 2007 public perceptions of mental health have improved by 12.7%. However at the same time 60% of those in a 2015 TTC survey of 6000 people with lived experience stated that the stigma can be worse than the original condition.

Time to Talk Day – started in 2014 and the event in 2020 was the biggest one yet with 40,000 workplaces, schools and other supporters downloading conversation packs. The result was that #TimeToTalk was the number one trending topic on twitter for most of that day. The impact report states that as a result of this event, 2.26 million people talked about mental health more than they usually would on the day and in the run up to the day. 87% of people said that they were more likely to talk about mental health as a result.

The ‘Ask Twice’ campaign highlighted the fact that we may say we are OK when in fact we are not, so its best to ask again which may encourage them to open up. In 2018/19 this campaign reached 27.6 million adults and 5.37 million children.

Latest Data 2018/19 Shows:

  • 3.1% improvement attitudes among the UK adult population compared to data from 2016/17. Overall change is 12.7% since the first survey in 2008 - equating to 5.4 million people with improved attitudes.
  • Data from 2018/19 shows that people are 12% more willing to live, work and have a relationship with someone with poor mental health, compared to when these questions were asked in 2009.

  • Direct discrimination has also decreased. Between 2008 and 2016 people with poor mental health reported that they were less likely to report having faced discrimination over the previous twelve months.

  • In 2016 TTC found that newspaper coverage of mental health was more likely to be positive than negative. Reported in Anderson et al (2018)

  • A survey of 587 champions found that 61% reported feeling more confident to challenge stigma and discrimination.

2016-2021 Plans:

  • 5% further reduction of stigma in adults.

  • 5% further reduction in reported discrimination

  • 75% of champions (with lived experience) reporting increased empowerment when engaging with TTC activities.

The Adventures of Anti-Stigma Kid

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