Film director Danny Boyle is among the key figures from the worlds of entertainment, sport, politics, the media and the military who are backing a call for more to be done to tackle mental illness in the UK.
Screenwriter and Comic Relief supremo Richard Curtis is also among the latest names to back the Equality for Mental Health Campaign.
More than 200 people have now signed an open letter to the Government calling for greater help. It comes within days of the campaign’s launch by Lib Dem former mental health minister Norman Lamb, Time to Change ambassador and former Labour government communications director Alastair Campbell, and former Conservative cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell.
Boyle, famous for his work on Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting, as well as the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, said he had “no hesitation” in signing up to the campaign stating: “For too long mental health and mental illness have been surrounded by stigma and taboo and I will support anything that strips that away.
“There cannot be anyone alive who doesn’t know someone who has some kind of mental illness and yet it does not get the same understanding or support as physical illness. That is an injustice that harms so many lives.”
Campaigners would like to see increased investment in the provision of mental health services and are urging people to sign up on social media using the hashtag #Equality4MentalHealth and via the website Equality4MentalHealth.uk.
Lack of access to treatment, long waiting times, inadequate crisis care and use of police cells are some of their concerns. The campaign has been launched ahead of the Government’s spending round.
Faith leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Dr Shuja Shafi of the Muslim Council of Britain are among the signatories, along with singer Annie Lennox, screenwriter Jimmy McGovern, presenter Graham Norton, comedian Ruby Wax and actress Emma Thompson.
High-profile business figures including architect Lord Richard Rogers, Sir Martin Sorrell and Delia Smith have pledged their support along with Falklands hero Simon Weston and classicist Mary Beard.
Former rower Sir Steve Redgrave, along with ex-cricketers Marcus Trescothick, Graeme Fowler and Mike Brearley and singer Frankie Bridge are also among the signatories.