Time to Change Surrey

Our Time to Change Surrey campaign

Time to Change Surrey is a campaign and programme to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health. Time to Change Surrey reaches out to businesses, colleges and communities, to people from different backgrounds, race, cultures and faith and across the diversity and equality spectrum.

Over the years, Time to Change Surrey has reached thousands of people and provided information and expertise to raise awareness of emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Some of the ways we do this are:

  • Workshops, presentations and conversations about mental health with members of the public, from the team of Mental Health Champions, all people who live directly or indirectly (like carers) with mental health issues.
  • Live dramas created and performed by professional actors from Acting Out Productions.
  • Drama based training sessions that include practical guidelines on spotting symptoms of mental ill health, helping someone and signposting to appropriate organisations and resources.

Time to Change Surrey is commissioned by Surrey County Council Public Health and delivered by three established and respected not for profit organisations in the county: Mary Frances Trust, Catalyst and Acting Out Productions.

Mental ill health can affect anyone, anytime, anywhere. One in four of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives; in the workplace, it's one in six and within higher education it's one in five. One in 10 children live with mental distress and 50% of all mental illnesses are established by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 25. These statistics are being reviewed in light of the pandemic which we know has impacted the mental wellbeing of many children, young people and adults, see snapshot below.

As you have physical ill health, so you can have mental ill health. There are many diagnoses in mental health, for example, depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, personality disorders, schizophrenia, psychosis and post-natal depression. Each illness, as with physical illness, has its own symptoms and each person might experience the illness differently. For more information about different mental health problems, self-help strategies and local support services can be found on Healthy Surrey.

Mental Health in a Pandemic: young people

The Mental Health Foundation has been undertaking a running survey to determine the pandemic impact. A snapshot from their COVID-19 Adolescent Study includes the following:

  • More teenagers reported poor mental health in February and March than in August, September, November and December.
  • People aged 18 and 19 reported the highest levels of poor mental health.
  • Female respondents of all ages reported higher levels of poor mental health than male respondents.
  • Respondents who have a mental health diagnosis reported higher poor mental health.
  • Feelings of anxiety and depression are also experienced more often and at higher levels in teenagers from lower social grades.


People who experience mental health problems often say that the stigma and discrimination they experience as a result can be a bigger burden than the actual symptoms of the mental health problem. The impact of stigma and discrimination affects many aspects of peoples' lives, for example:

  • isolation, friendships can be lost,
  • exclusion from everyday activities,
  • harder to get or keep a job,
  • reluctance to seek help,
  • physical health can be affected,
  • financial penalties (for example difficulties obtaining certain insurance/higher premiums).

A short survey to see where people were experiencing stigma was undertaken in 2020.

Although as this survey had a small number of respondents (66), care must be taken in their interpretation and firm conclusions cannot be drawn from them.

A new more in-depth and larger sample survey will be published shortly.

The results showed the following percentage of people who reported they had been subject to mental health stigma and discrimination:

  • 18% Job Centre
  • 20% Police and emergency services
  • 23% Benefits and housing
  • 26% Acute hospitals
  • 26% Community mental health services
  • 34% GP Practice
  • 41% Workplace
  • 45% Social circles

Later in the year we will be inviting people to join focus groups to discuss mental health stigma and how we can all do something to reduce it.

How could you help end stigma in Surrey?

Everyone can make mental health matter and help reduce stigma and discrimination; in our day to day lives, at work, in the classroom, with friends, family and social groups. Why not think about the different ways you could do something to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health, whether in your workplace, college, or community. The new Time to Change website will have stories, ideas and resources to help us all end stigma in Surrey.

Get Involved

You can also get involved in the local Surrey campaign by contacting Megan Aspel at megan.aspel@sky.com for more information.