Mayor backs Time to Change

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has committed the city council to helping end the stigma and discrimination against people with experience of mental health problems.

As part of the city’s commitment to improving mental health and wellbeing, Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for planning and buying hospital and community health services, have pledged their support to the national Time to Change Campaign to reduce stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.

Time to Change is a programme run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which aims to promote a better understanding of mental health problems while offering support and welfare advice to their staff.

A special Time to Change Network has been set up to co-ordinate and promote activities across the city that aim to take the taboo out of talking about mental health. It will include a series of workplace and community awareness and training events which will run later this year.

Mayor Anderson said: “Mental health difficulties can affect anyone, with 1 in 4 of us experiencing a diagnosable condition every year. I know from my time as a social worker not just the difficulties it can cause but also the stigma attached to it.

“As one of the city’s biggest employers, and the one which is now also responsible for Public Health, it is vital we do all we can to tackle the prejudice, discrimination and exclusion that exists.

“We are committed to leading the way in promoting ways to improve our wellbeing, challenge stigma and support those who are experiencing mental health problems”.

Liverpool CCG, which is responsible for planning and buying hospital and community health services for the people of Liverpool, is supporting the move and has signed up to the pledge.

Dr Nadim Fazlani, Chair of Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We all have a responsibility to help change society’s perceptions about mental illness, not least because it is such a widespread issue.

“As well as affecting those already diagnosed with a mental health problem, fear of stigma can be a major barrier to people seeking the help they need.

“We’re proud to sign the Time to Change pledge, which sits alongside the wider work we are doing to develop and improve mental health services for the people of Liverpool.”

For information on local support services, activities and tips on improving your mental wellbeing visit www.wellbeingliverpool.co.uk or call the Healthwatch Liverpool Information team on 0300 77 77 007.

Liverpool is joining a wide movement of organisations that have signed up to the Time to Change Pledge, including the FA, the Premier League, Universities, BT, Eon, NHS Trusts, Primary Care Trusts, local authorities, Transport for London, Citizen’s Advice, and police forces.

Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, said: “It is fantastic that more and more organisations are showing their support in tackling the stigma experienced by people with mental health problems.

“Employees and their staff can all play a part in helping to stamp out stigma and companies like Liverpool City Council are taking a lead.

“Many leading companies have found that making a strategic commitment to the mental wellbeing of their workforce not only has benefits for their staff but also benefits their bottom-line, improving productivity and staff retention.

“With one in four people experiencing mental illness it’s time for businesses to work on their approach and start creating more mentally healthy workplaces.”

Time to Change is England’s biggest anti-stigma programme led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and funded by the Department of Health and Comic Relief. Set up to create a positive shift in public attitudes towards mental health problems, it promotes better understanding to combat discrimination towards people who experience mental health problems.