Mission & Values

We believe that people experiencing mental health difficulties should be given the opportunity to thrive in all areas of their lives.

Our vision is a society where individuals experiencing mental ill health are:

  • Treated as individuals with equality, dignity and respect.
  • Empowered to speak openly without judgement.
  • Able to access treatment and support when they need it.

Our mission is to unite communities and organisations across Northern Ireland in common cause to stamp out stigma in all its forms by:

  • Raising awareness and improving knowledge around mental health and recovery.
  • Effecting lasting, positive change in attitudes and behaviours towards people experiencing mental ill health across Northern Ireland, thus bringing discrimination to an end. 

Why we're doing it

The statistics around mental ill health in Northern Ireland are stark. One in five people will experience a mental health problem each year. The rate is an estimated 25% higher than elsewhere in the UK. With the right support, however, people experiencing mental ill health can and do recover to live full lives.

That said, we still live in a culture of silence around mental health; many of the facts and realities surrounding it are widely misunderstood. These misconceptions breed stigma and discrimination, undermining an individual’s ability to participate in society, feel connected and seek support.

Our research has shown generally positive opinions  in terms of tolerance and resistance towards blaming people for their own mental health problems  on this issue in Northern Ireland, yet, attitudes of fear, uncertainty and exclusion persist. This can also be coupled with a reluctance amongst those experiencing mental illness to self-disclose and begin their journey to support.

  • Over 13% believed locating mental health services within a neighbourhood downgraded a residential area.
  • 7.1% would not want to live next door to someone who is mentally ill.
  • Only 37% of people felt that women who have been in a mental health hospital could be trusted as babysitters.
  • Only 70% believe that individuals with mental ill health are far less of a danger than most people suppose.
  • Over 15% of people believed that anyone with a history of mental health problems should be excluded from public office.

In comparison to England, Scotland and Wales, where campaigns have been running for years (2002 in Scotland, 2007 in England and 2012 in Wales), anti-stigma work in Northern Ireland has been fragmented.

Our ambition is to create a cohesive, collaborative and community-driven awareness campaign that will:

  • Positively change views on, and behaviour towards, people with mental ill health in Northern Ireland, across all communities and areas of society.
  • Reduce discrimination against people with experience of mental ill health, along with the stigma around discussing such problems.
  • Empower people with mental ill health as they tackle discrimination and play active roles in their communities, giving them a confident voice and a platform to be heard.