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Many people with mental health problems say that the biggest barrier to getting back on their feet is not the symptoms of illness, but the attitudes of other people.

The stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness can make it difficult for people to maintain friendships, get a job or get involved in their community. People with mental health problems are one our most socially excluded groups.

Shift is the Department of Health-funded programme to tackle the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness in England, aiming to help create a society where people with mental health problems enjoy the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Shift, which runs until March 31 2011, works closely with Time to Change, the charity sector led anti-stigma campaign, funded by the Big Lottery and Comic Relief.

Shift’s work complements their work by concentrating on two key audiences, which Time to Change is not focusing on – employers and the media.
The work in employment is aimed at improving the recruitment and retention of people with mental health problems. The work with the media is aimed at improving media coverage of mental health and in particular addressing exaggerated public fears about the link between mental illness.

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