Monday, 26 January 2009



Mental health campaign Time to Change invites commuters to ride to work in a ‘padded cell’

Monday 26th January 2009

Commuters in Sheffield will be in for a surprise today as they ride to work and discover that one of their trams has been turned into a padded cell. The idea, the first of its kind to be conducted on a commuter service, is led by Time to Change – a campaign to tackle the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.

The padded-cell will run on the yellow route of the Sheffield Supertram network throughout the day. It will be emblazoned with provocative slogans. One panel reads - “1 in 4 will have a mental health problem in their life; that’s 50 on this tram – but they don’t need to spend their days in a padded cell”. The stunt makes the point that mental health problems are very common, yet people who have experienced these problems, are typically getting on with life and travelling to work, just like everybody else.

Time to Change is England’s biggest and most ambitious campaign to end mental health discrimination. It’s run by leading mental health charities Mental Health Media, Mind and Rethink, and backed by £16 million from the Big Lottery Fund and £2 million from Comic Relief.

The tram will run from the 25th January through to the evening of Monday 26th January (on the yellow route). Commuters will be able to hop on board as they usually would during the day. Furthermore, travelling on board will be several people who have experienced mental health problems, including an ex-police officer and a qualified nurse.

Lawrence Butterfield, a qualified nurse who has had depression, says -

“I was surprised by people’s reactions when I was first diagnosed with depression. It was as if they thought a nurse should somehow be immune to mental health problems. The truth is it can happen to anyone. Thankfully padded cells are a thing of the past – but in many ways our attitudes to mental health problems are still very old-fashioned and its about time we all became more open about the issue. The subject of cancer used to be a taboo, but we are now comfortable discussing it and it’s time we had the same attitudes to mental health. I will be riding on the tram to make people realise that mental health problems are still a taboo, but the people who have experienced them are just normal people, getting on with it.”

Sue Baker, Time to Change Director says -

"Time and time again people with mental health problems say that other people's prejudice, fear and discrimination can have a worse impact than the problem itself. And yet mental health problems are a common experience in the 21st century. With one in four of us experiencing a mental health problem at some stage, this is an issue that affects all of us - whether it be directly or a family member or friend. We’ve got to realise that stigma, discrimination, and outdated attitudes wreck lives. But it doesn't have to be this way – this is the beginning of a social movement that can change things for the better”.

For more information on Time to Change and the padded cell visit


For images of the padded cell, interviews with a Time to Change spokesperson, and/or interviews with any of the case studies, please contact Frank PR on 0207 693 6999 / 0781 309 5242or email


About 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. Mental Health Media, Mind, and Rethink are leading the programme, funded £16m from the Big Lottery Fund and £2m from Comic Relief and evaluated by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College, London.

For further information go to

About The Big Lottery Fund:

The Big Lottery Fund’s support for Time to Change comes from its £165m Well-being programme, which provides funding to support the development of healthier lifestyles and to improve well-being. The Big Lottery Fund has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006. Full details of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website:

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888 / Out of hours: 07867 500 572 Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030 / Textphone: 08456 021 659

About Comic Relief:

Comic Relief is committed to supporting people living with mental health problems. The projects Comic Relief funds ensure people with mental health problems get their voices heard in the decisions that affect their lives and to get the help they need to recover. Comic Relief also helps people to promote their rights and reduce the stigma and discrimination they face so that they feel more included in society. The £2 million grant to Time to Change is part of Comic Relief's long standing commitment to this issue. For more information go to

About Stagecoach Supertram:

Stagecoach Group is a leading international public transport group, with extensive operations in the UK, United States and Canada. The company employs around 30,000 people and operates bus, coach, rail and tram services. Stagecoach Supertram was Britain's first state-of-the-art tramway and has been in operation for 15 years. It incorporates three tram routes in the city of Sheffield and carries around 15million passengers a year.

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