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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Campaign to end stigma of mental illness
The ad will be appearing on London's Tube network
The ad will be appearing on London's Tube network
Experts are launching a campaign aimed at reducing the stigma attached to mental illness.

The "Changing Minds: Every Family" campaign from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) is part of a five-year programme which hopes to change people's attitudes and behaviour towards the mentally ill.

The campaign follows recent controversy over the early release of a man who attacked churchgoers with a Samurai sword and the man who stabbed ex-Beatle George Harrison.


Some form of mental health problem affects every family in the UK

Royal College of Psychiatrists spokesman
Posters featuring catchphrases such as "Can't talk to that nutter" above the slogan "Stop. Think, Understand." will appear on 2,000 London Underground tube train panels during the next month.

The "Changing Minds" campaign also wants to end stereotypical and stigmatising representations of the mentally ill in the media and elsewhere.

Words such as "nutter", "psycho" and "schizo" are derogatory and should not be used, they say.

Campaigners also want to create better understanding of schizophrenia and depression, which they say often provoke fear and misunderstanding amongst the general public.

Changing Minds also has a website, and people will be able to obtain videos, leaflets and booklets on understanding mental health.

Widespread discrimination

A spokesman for the RCP said: "There should be no room for stigma in the third millennium.

"The Changing Minds campaign is trying, in a variety of ways, to encourage everyone to stop and think about their own attitudes and behaviour in relation to mental disorders.

"At the same time, we need to remind ourselves that, directly or indirectly, some form of mental health problem affects every family in the UK."

"The experience of our patients is that discriminatory attitudes are widespread within the general public, the medical profession, employers, banks, insurance companies and many other organisations."

Margery Wallace, chief executive of the charity SANE, said: "We are delighted that the RCP should be taking such a strong initiative and reaching all age groups, including children, in every day situations.

"We hope that people who see the adverts on the Tube, and that the campaign will help mentally ill people themselves who so often feel sidelined and out of synch with society to feel that they belong and that someone is there to help."

The charity's helpline, Saneline, can be contacted on 0845 767 8000.

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