Schizophrenic man terrifies kids at party

This is a guest post from the people responsible for promoting an anti mental health discrimination campaign called ‘Time to change’.

We don’t normally do adverts but I thought that this would be ok – it would be very interesting to hear if you have any comments or observations?

 Time to Change is run by leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink, and backed by £16 million from the Big Lottery Fund and £2 million from Comic Relief. 

The Time to Change charity was successfully launched in Jan this year with an advertising campaign created by MCBD, with media planning by Naked and media buying by the7Stars.  The campaign featured a TV ad: “The Bridge”, celebrity and real people testimonial posters and press ads (featuring Ruby Wax, Stephen Fry and others) and a Mental Illness Myth/Fact press and online campaign.


The latest phase of the campaign includes a more provocative piece which tackles the stigma surrounding mental illness head on.  It was decided to launch these films online for a number of reasons, firstly because most mainstream movies are launched through rich media online and we wanted to ape this type of media placement.  Secondly a vital part of this campaign is to encourage people to pass on these films to friends so online is the perfect environment to facilitate the viral spread of the campaign.


Two films break online on 10th August, both of which play on the negative stereotypes that people hold about people with schizophrenia. The first film “Schizo movie” fools the viewer into believing that it’s a promo for a thriller. It purposefully takes its cues from horror movie trailers, using lots of dark imagery.  However once the film starts to play we meet Stuart who is a regular guy, just like you or I, but who also happens to have schizophrenia.  This approach allows TTC to challenge the perceptions people have about people with mental health problems without finger-pointing.


The second film “Kid’s Party” will be seeded into video sites with the title “schizophrenic man terrifies kids at party” with a still of a typical kid’s party next to it.  Instead of seeing youngsters being frightened by a person with schizophrenia, viewers see a normal children’s party with the person “scaring” the children with a giant spider made out of balloons.  As this footage is revealed the person voices over the film and explains how thanks to support from his friends he’s able to live a full life despite having schizophrenia.


1 in 4 of us will have a mental health problem at some stage in life, yet research shows that attitudes to mental illness are just getting worse. And for many the stigma is harder to deal with than the illness itself.  Time to Change aims to improve public attitudes and get mental health problems out into the open.


Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: “Both films have been designed to attract members of the public who don’t realize they are causing stigma and discrimination.  Evidence shows that provocative films make a big difference to attitudes and both films will go a long way to reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems.”


She continued: “One in four of us will have a mental health problem at some stage of our lives. It can happen to anyone. Stigma and discrimination wrecks lives. Yet everyone can make a change in their attitudes now – you don’t need to be an expert to make a difference to friend, family member or colleague who needs your support.”


Michael Pring, managing director, MCBD said: “This is a very brave campaign for the mental health world to run with but we’re confident that getting people to nod along with prejudice and then confronting them with the reality will prove an effective approach”.

6 thoughts on “Schizophrenic man terrifies kids at party

  1. These YouTube videos are patronising and once again the corporate MH charities seem to be getting extraordinary amounts of funding to pursue their own ‘heroic’ agenda at a time when MH services are being cut back and practical grass roots MH support projects are going to the wall. With NIMHE these same charities have wasted £100 million on similar anti-stigma campaigns and its clearly become a nice little earner that distracts from the fact that its often state run services and the MH charities , who have become corporate service providers themselves in recent years , who discriminate against people with MH issues.

    Mind, one of the charities behind the YouTube videos, even claims stigma has increased to justify duplicated funding.

    I’m an MH service user and I’m really fed up with this costly, fraudulent and offensive campaigning by MH charity service providers . These finger pointing campaigns are co-ordinated with Government Departments , they do not represent the concerns nor interests of the majority of people with MH issues they simply create the impression that Government and charities need to talk on our behalf.

  2. I posted a comment questioning whether these films served people with MH issues or the corporate MH charity service providers who receive millions to run anti-stigma campaigns targetting the public. The comment appeared but was then deleted . So this site which carries the logo of Birmingham University can push top down MH professional driven campaigns that are traceable back to Government but people with MH issues aren’t openly allowed to question them .

    Google Time for Change and check out how few people with MH issues support their public blaming campaigns as basic MH services and really practical support projects go to the wall.

    Both Mind and Rethink have closed local services in recent weeks.

  3. Hi John

    Just a couple of points in response to your first comment.
    1. Wherever you posted a previous comment it wasn’t here. I would only delete someting if there was a very good reason i.e it was offensive or threatening etc
    2. We are not ‘pushing’ anything – that is a viral campaign & like it or not it is out there. I invited comments at the top of this post specifically so that anyone could express an opinion, I am pleased that you have done so.


    PS we are nothing at all to do with Birmingham University – we are Birminghan City University (

  4. Hi John,

    You appear to have your own agenda.

    The Time To Change campaign does not aim to change perceptions of MH issues, rather it aims to begin the change. And it certainly is not a waste of money – you make it sound that the world of finance is simple and straightforward but it isn’t. Different organisations have different views – it really is as simple as that – and just because their views do not match yours is irrelevant. If you believe that this campaign is wrong, how do you feel about charities/campaigns that are aimed to benefit animals then? I disagree with them but I appreciate that for other people it is a significant issue.

    But…I do consider your comments as carrying some weight and besides, this blog is open to all.

  5. hi john
    i have just started a mental health nusing course and im happy to see the ad. Many people have the wrong view on mental illness and if this enlightens joe public into the other side of mental illness then the thats surely a good thing is it not. For too long now the public have seen sufferers as villians when they are just as normal as themselves. Every action the goverment makes usually has evil undertones but if we look beyond that its possible to view it as a catylist for change, hopefully.

  6. I suffer from Schizo-Affective disorder and have done for 18 years and have had all the usual diagnosis such as Bi-Polar and Schizophrenia and now Schizo-Afective Disorder seems to be my latest label 😛

    I was delighted by this video as it is so Ironic and yet well informing. I have linked this on my FB and applaud its efforts to raise awareness of the stigma involved in MH issues. Even i was fooled into thinking ‘he’ was frightening kids. I applaud the online campaign and viral video’s have really taken off hugely.

    Saying that i do agree with the OP concerning cutbacks in the MH Service. I never ever see the same Consultant as they are aways temps because they can’t keep staff. The whole Unit has one CPN .. yes you read that right, one CPN. And i cannot see them becuase the’re are too many people who need him / her more than me. They are not getting anymore as the first thing cut in any NHS Trust is the MH Service as MH Illnesses are not seen as a life threatening condition, like cancer.

    Pls feel free to contact me through my website if i can be of any use. I certainly would love to ‘star’ in one of your viral campaigns. Great guns guys. x

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