Back to advice

Time to change

Friday 28 June 2013 Student Mental Health

Time to Change is England's biggest programme to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The programme is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund.

The programme aims to work with all sectors and communities to encourage more open conversation about mental health and ensure that people with mental health problems can be equal and active citizens.  

Time to Change combines a national campaign with community activity.  We fund grassroots anti-stigma projects through our grants scheme, and support people with experience of mental health problems to become active social leaders.  We also work with the media, a wide range of organisations, BME communities and children and young people. 

There are loads of ways to get involved and help get people talking about mental health. The first way is you can add your name to our pledge wall to tell us how you will personally help tackle stigma. If you have personal experience of a mental health problem you could also join the Time to Change Champions network or sign up to be a media volunteer and use your personal experience to raise awareness.

Students can also encourage their students’ union and institution to get involved with Time to Change by encouraging them to sign an organisational pledge. The Time to Change pledge is a public statement of aspiration that an organisation wants to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination. It is not a quality mark, accreditation or endorsement. What matters is that the organisation signing is taking some action, that’s realistic and right for them, and that they hope will lead to a reduction in discrimination either within the organisation or in the wider community.

The pledge can be carried out in many ways – an employer could fulfil their pledge by changing their culture and policies so that people with mental health problems are supported at work. A students' union could get anti-stigma messages out to the communities within its institution.

Every organisation is different and there are various ways that an organisation can put their pledge into action. But all organisations who want to pledge must complete an action plan setting out what they are going to do. Time to Change can help advise you on the action plan but it’s the responsibility of the organisation to deliver it. Action plans should be realistic and manageable, but we’re not going to penalise unions that don’t achieve everything, so we encourage you to aim high.

A growing number of students' unions and universities have already pledged alongside BT, E.ON, the Premier League, Channel 4, the Church of England, Comic Relief, local authorities and NHS Trusts. For more information about getting involved and to see a full list of organisations that have pledged and some case studies highlighting what different organisations have done, visit the Time to Change website.