Government launches campaign to end mental health stigma among teens

Health Minister Alistair Burt today (October 22) announces a new campaign to tackle life-limiting mental health stigma among children and young people.

The Department of Health is investing £660,000 to enable Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma programme run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, to deliver a national social marketing campaign and to work alongside children's charity YoungMinds to provide training in 30 schools across three areas in England.

The new campaign, which builds on an existing programme of work with young people and parents, will target young people to raise awarenesss of mental health problems and the stigma that many face. It will also target parents, to make sure they feel equipped and have the confidence to speak with their children about mental health.

The initiative will also see the launch of the Youth Mental Health Hub website - a new section of NHS Choices - to help young people find accurate information about mental health conditions.

The Minister says the campaign marks the "biggest transformation to young people's mental health and one of the greatest investments the sector has seen".

"This is something that young people have asked for - better information about mental health, tailored specifically for them, online."

The Government has also commissioned a new survey of young people's mental health, the first since 2004, which will be used to help design services. Almost 10,000 people aged from two to 19 and their families will be interviewed to assess the prevalence of mental health issues.

Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, said: "With three children in every classroom experiencing mental health problems and the latest ONS figures showing 1 in 8 children aged 10 to 15 reporting symptoms, we have to create a new era of openness and support.

"Young people have told us that stigma is life-limiting - it affects friendships and school life, and for a quarter it even makes them want to give up on life. This has to be the generation for change."