Rethink Mental Illness’s heroes of the year: 2011
1. Catherine Zeta-Jones
Revealed she is receiving treatment for bipolar disorder.
Mark Davies, Director of communications for Rethink Mental Illness said: “It is to her credit that she described her illness truthfully. The stigma that still surrounds mental illness often means that people stay silent and try to cope alone. When people such as Catherine Zeta-Jones speak out it makes a huge difference to the millions of other people facing mental illness as it shows they are not alone.”
2. Rebecca Front
Admitted on Twitter that she experiences panic attacks and encouraged other celebrity tweeters to follow her lead and reveal their mental health issues.
Davies said: “Front opened up one of the biggest conversations of the year around mental health through this one simple action. The outpouring that followed highlighted the power celebrities and social media have as a force for positive change.”
3. Georgia Taylor
Played Dr Ruth Winter in Casualty who developed mental illness and was sectioned.
Davies said: “Taylor’s portrayal of mental illness was sensitive and brought the issue to a mass prime-time audience. We had an overwhelmingly positive response from our members and supporters, many of whom had been through similar experiences to the character.”
4. Frank Bruno
Spoke openly about being sectioned for the Time to Change Campaign.
Davies said: “Since his mental health crisis in 2003, Bruno has become one of the most open celebrities in the UK, when it comes to mental illness. He has campaigned tirelessly to end mental health discrimination through the Time to Change Campaign and has brought comfort to many thousands of people.”
5. Danny Cipriani
Former England rugby star, Danny Cipriani, revealed he sought counselling after being affected by a period of severe depression.
Davies said: “It was very courageous of Danny to be so open about his experiences with depression. His honesty will have given courage to many others who may be afraid to talk openly about their mental health, and will act as a source of strength to those who suffer in silence.
“This year saw a real turning point for sport and mental health more generally, with Jonny Wilkinson and Michael Yardy also speaking out about their experiences of depression. The fact they both felt able to do this, is perhaps a sign that things are changing in the macho world of sport.”
Notes to editors
Rethink Mental Illness
Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.
For 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.
We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.
We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.
Time to Change
Time to Change is England’s most ambitious programme to end the discrimination faced by people with mental health problems, and improve the nation’s wellbeing.
Mind and Rethink Mental Illness are leading the programme, funded with £16m from the Department of Health and £4m from Comic Relief. For further information go to www.time-to-change.org.uk
Senior Media Relations Officer, Rethink Mental Illness
020 7840 3138
Tweet me! @Rachel_Rethink